Study shows privatization not financially feasible |

Study shows privatization not financially feasible


A study submitted to the Douglas County Commission Thursday concluded that the parks and recreation department maintains its facilities efficiently and frugally.

The Douglas County Parks and Recreation Commission recently requested the study to explore the possibility of privatizing maintenance within the parks division and to determine its cost-effectiveness.

“It’s been an ongoing question in Douglas County, as well as in other jurisdictions,” said Scott Morgan, parks and recreation director for Douglas County. “Can a public entity provide services as effectively as private companies?”

With this question in mind, the park facilities and grounds maintenance program was selected for closer analysis. Privatization of this department would involve firing a seasonal employee and a full-time county employee.

“We got quotes from Town and County Landscape Maintenance as well as a local, qualified landscape firm for maintenance in that specific department,” Morgan said. “In the final analysis, we determined is was still more cost-effective for Douglas County to do its own maintenance.”

If parks and recreation were to contract out its maintenance work, the study concluded it would cost nearly $30,000 more than what it costs the county to do the job.

It was also determined that the current system provides more flexibility and a shorter response time toward residents of the county.

“We are willing to do this kind of study again in the future,” Morgan said. “We are committed to becoming as cost-effective and innovative as we can.”

Parks and recreation will probably undergo the study in another five years. Until that time, maintenance privatization will not occur, the study concluded, until more qualified landscape firms move into the county and provide better competition, or if the county experiences dramatic drops or changes in unemployment and labor rates.

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