Detroit Mayor Alludes to Privatization of City Services

DETROIT — Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick surprised many observers by delivering a "State of the City" speech with allusions to competitive contracting. Consider an excerpt from his remarks as quoted by the Detroit Free Press: "Is trash collection a core service? Again, I believe the answer is, ‘Yes.’ Does city government need to provide that core service? Frankly, at this moment I don’t know. I don’t know that it requires that workers be on the city payroll to insure that trash is picked up on time every week."

The mayor went on to promise that the city would investigate how best to provide services to citizens in its police, fire, recreation and public works departments, among other areas. He asked rhetorically, "Does it cost the city more to provide that service than it would cost someone else to do it for us?"

In 2000, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy published an entire edition of Michigan Privatization Report covering Detroit-specific fiscal policy and privatization-related topics.