From the Desk of
County Commissioner Blaine Young
(7/1) I would like to take the opportunity this month to talk about PPP (Public/Private Partnerships). Why are we examining them? What are they and what are some examples of Public/Private Partnerships that have worked and are working in Frederick County right now.
First, why are we exploring this opportunity of another service delivery model to deliver services to the citizens? Well, if you do not care about the fact that we (Frederick County) are spending more than we are taking in, and only care about balancing the budget using whatever financial tactics are necessary, you are probably not a fan of this Board of
Commissioners. We plan to balance the budget using sound financial principals and getting our (Frederick County) financial house in order by getting our expenses in line with revenues. We have been using transfers and fund balance way too long and it has only gotten worse over time not better. Not until we took office and started making the tough, the right, decisions when dealing with the 2012
budget did this practice begin to change. In November, we heard from the voters loud and clear…taxes and fees are out of control so if the majority of our citizens do not want us to expand/increase revenue by increasing taxes and fees, then we need to get the county’s expenses under control and we can’t rob Peter to pay Paul with transfers and the use of one-time revenue sources to fund recurring
expenses. PPP’s can help us get the county’s expenses under control and eliminate long-term liabilities.
A Public/Private Partnership is just what the name implies. It is a contractual arrangement whereby the resources, risks and rewards of both the public agency and the private company are combined to provide greater efficiency, better access to capital and improved compliance with a range of government regulations regarding the environment and workplace. The
public’s interests are fully assured through provisions in the contracts that provide for on-going monitoring and oversight of the operation, or a service, or the development of a facility. In this way everyone wins – the government entity, the private company and the general public. Public/private partnerships are more common than you may think. Right here in Frederick County we have one with
the company that picks up the blue recycling bins. Many municipalities have PPP’s with companies that pick up the trash for their citizens. When the waste-to-energy facility is completed, it will be run by a private company, not county employees. Frederick County roads are now maintained in part by PPP’s. Private contractors are hired for snow removal, patching and/or repaving, painting traffic
stripes, etc. PPP’s work well and are beneficial for all parties.
In Long Island, New York, the Long Island Bus will be converted into a public private partnership by the end of the year, insuring services and saving the taxpayers of Long Island millions of tax dollars. This arrangement can be used and has been used, with accounting, airports, and air traffic control, animal shelter operations and management, bridge repair and
maintenance, building financing, operations and maintenance, correctional facilities, daycare facilities, engineering, financial planning, golf courses, graphic design and printing, human resources administration, information technology infrastructure and network services, legal services, library services, mental health services and facilities, park operations and maintenance, parking lots and
parking meters, planning and permitting, risk management, road maintenance, school construction, buses, cafeteria and driver’s education, stadium and convention center management, street cleaning and snow removal, swimming pools, toll roads and zoo operations. The full spectrum, from A to Z.
As you can see, there are a lot and probably more. While there can be substantial misperceptions about the value of partnerships, a look at who endorses them should clarify the picture. The Federal, State and many local governments have been and currently are using them. Certainly there are opportunities for savings in Frederick County.
We owe it to the tax payers to explore and do the due diligence to see if there is another way to find more revenues, except by raising taxes. The fact is we (the government) have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
The BOCC requested a study of possible PPP’s for Frederick County and it was delivered on June 16, 2011. You can download a copy of the study using this link. Using this link, you can view a discussion about
this topic between Dave Dunn, Acting County Manager and me.
We have scheduled four public hearings to begin the discussion about expanding PPP’s in Frederick County. Please plan to attend and share your views, pro or con, with your elected officials.
The hearings are set for: Tuesday, July 12 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, July 19 at 9:00 a.m.; Thursday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, July 26 at 7:00 p.m. All meetings will take place in the First Floor Hearing Room of Winchester Hall. Everyone will be given the opportunity to be heard. The meetings will also be broadcast on Cable Channel 19 and streamed, live over
the County’s webpage.
Please join us as we explore the PPP’s for our county to make sure we are currently operating effectively and efficiently. If you cannot attend one or more of the meetings but have suggestions of areas that would benefit from a PPP, please send that information to the BOCC by mail, e-mail or by phone using the following information.
The mailing address is 12 East Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701
The e-mail address is countycommissioners@FrederickCountyMD.gov
Phone any of us using 301-600-1100.
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