SAGINAW An analysis of the cash-strapped Saginaw city budget in the 96-02 issue of Michigan Privatization Report suggested that privatization would help the city get out of its financial difficulties and improve services. It would appear that the city may be taking such recommendations seriously.
Starting June 30, a private company (Heinz Landscaping) took over the city's lawn-cutting service. The savings to the city were not officially projected at the time of this printing, but council members expect the private company to end up costing the city much less than the $150 an hour the city was previously incurring. Councilman Delbert J. Schrems, according to the Saginaw News, said, "If we're still going to charge more than $100 an hour for this, I'll retire and take the job."
Meantime, the city's April 1996 privatization of the Saginaw Children's Zoo seems to be a smashing success. Old buildings have been torn down and replaced by new ones by the Saginaw Zoological Society which now runs the operation. A major expansion was completed this summer, including new restrooms, a carousel, a concession stand and a gift shop. New animals have been added. Monthly attendance is up by as much as three-fold in only the past year.