MARCELLUSLast November 30 was an important day in this southwest lower Michigan
(Cass County) village. That's the day that Severn Trent, a private firm, took over
management of the village's sewer, water and street services.
DETROITMaking a point that the lack of market forces and competition may be a big
part of the problems at Wayne County's Detroit Metro Airport, Detroit Free Press
business columnist Doron Levin wrote this on January 19, 1999: "[Wayne County
Executive Ed] McNamara has lots to explain about how we got so far into the 20th
Century with an outdated airport. More importantly, he should tell us why he signed a
monopoly franchise with Northwest [Airlines] for the new terminal."
GREEN OAK TWP.Officials in this Livingston County township voted 6-1 in October
to seek out a cost/benefit analysis of privatizing all township employees, except for
those in the fire and police departments.
MCBAINWhile trends in most places are to take services from the public sector and
put them in the private sector, this small Missaukee County town may be headed in the
other direction. After losing its last full-time grocery store with the closure of
Ashcraft's in May 1998, McBain officials announced in November that they are exploring
whether the city should purchase a store and then sell it to the 700 residents.
ITHACAAfter rejecting the idea of privatizing custodial services a few years ago,
Gratiot County officials said in late November that they want to explore the idea again.
It was reported that the inquiry may go beyond custodial services to examine the
feasibility of contracting out for other services as well.
DEARBORNCiting a very successful first-year experience with privatization of the
city's animal shelter, the Dearborn city council last year granted a one-year renewal of
the contract with Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter.
LANSINGThe state Court of Appeals ruled in November that the state had the right
to appoint private liquor distributors in 1997 even though it didn't have qualifications
in place for them. The ruling keeps in place the partial privatization of liquor
distribution instituted by the Engler administration in January 1997.
MIDLANDCounty commissioners here recently terminated a contract with a private
firm and brought custodial duties in-house, citing problems with both security and the
quality of cleaning services. Since January 1, the county has been doing the work with its
own staff of two full-time and five part-time custodians.