Imlay City—A shortage in manpower at the public works department has officials in Imlay City considering contracting out services to a private firm.

The city commission voted 5-1 recently to hire one more employee and to direct City Manager Amy Stryker to gather information on the privatization of services. Stryker recently informed the commission that the employment situation at the Department of Public Works was beginning to affect city operations. Commissioner Rodney Warner responded with a request that the city seek bids for privatization. "We've got a problem here that seems to be getting worse," Warner said. "Privatization is the thing of the future, that's what everybody is saying. The state is doing in on a big scale."

Besides machine operation, snow plowing, leaf pickup and water and sewer main repair and maintenance, Department of Public Works employees are responsible for cleaning and maintaining City Hall and other city buildings. "It's not effective to pay someone $16 an hour when we can probably hire someone for five dollars an hour to clean the offices," Warner said.