As the Barrow County Board of Commissioners gets ready to vote next week on plans to privatize major parts of county government, several issues need to be discussed.
First, whether or not this move is good for the county, it’s the result of years of frustration about poor county management. The county government hasn’t historically been a bastion of efficiency and to a large extent, that history opened the door for this move toward privatization.
Second, for supporters of this move to suggest that it will save the county money is wrong. Although the word “privatize” has become something of a buzzword in conservative circles, there’s little to suggest that this move will, over time, save the Barrow County government or citizens any money.
The reason for that is that a large part of the county government won’t be affected by this move. For example, none of the five constitutional officers mandated by the state constitution will be affected. In addition, the county’s debt payments and capital outlay purchases won’t be affected.
Out of a $50 million budget, only a small number of county government departments will be affected by this move, should the BOC approve it. So the idea that the county will suddenly be saving a lot of money is wrong.
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