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Letter to the Editor

Where's city outsourcing savings?

May 05, 2010 - Dear Editor,

It is interesting that at the last Village of Clarkston City Council meeting, our elected representatives rejected the outsourcing of lawn mowing for public grounds even though it was less costly than the City estimates it costs to do it with DPW employees and other City resources.

It is interesting because I and other former council members have asked about the cost of this and other DPW services for over four years and saw little if any accounting of costs for specific DPW work.

It is interesting because the reason the potential cost savings was defeated is it would require, by the city manager's accounting, eight hours less per week from the DPW staff and he did not want to lose those hours or the corresponding reduction in city expenses.

It was his contention that we should outsource lawn mowing, not to save money, but to spend more. The council decided to do nothing and eight hours per week of DPW time was saved.

At the next council meeting the city may decide to spend over $5,000 for a new lawn mower so that we can continue to mow the lawn at an even greater cost.

This will be the third increase in the DPW budget this year. Apparently the Council feels that the DPW and eight hours per week from a part time DPW employee are more important than the jobs of two full time police officers, 5-6 part time officers and a place for reserve officers to work.

All of this may be replaced by the township sheriff service at a yet undetermined cost and level of service.

I fully understand that our police are a large part of our budget and that we may not be able to afford them at this time. I also realize that mowing the lawn is a relatively small part of the budget.

But is it really the city's goal to mow the lawn at any cost while the health, safety and welfare of our city is reduced and we are told that a budget deficit is imminent? Is the Clarkston City Council the dance band on the Titanic? This is not the time to be spending more money on inefficient non-essential services and I would hope everyone takes this into account when voting for any increased spending and taxes.

Cory Johnston


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