City of Hampton explores managed competition in the way city services are selected
The City of Hampton is exploring ways to cut costs in anticipation of a difficult 2013 budget, including outsourcing select city services to the private sector.
The city is seeking bids for services such as trash collection, street sweeping, landscaping work and before- and after-school care.
“Personally, I think Hampton employees are extremely efficient. When you compare our staffing levels to those in other localities, we are almost always the leanest in staffing per capita,” City Manager Mary Bunting said in the press release. “I will be surprised if there is a private-sector bid that’s less, but we won’t know unless we test it.”
The city will face a difficult budget for a third year. With declines in state revenue and home values, revenues in other areas going flat as well as the increasing costs of retirement, the city is searching for ways to cut costs.
The managed competition plan has safeguards. Each contract awarded will be for five years, which will prevent firms from underbidding and raising rates after the first year. The winning firm will have to meet requirements for customer satisfaction and responsiveness.
The city already outsources some services, including parks services in some areas and some information technology services. City departments will still be able to bid on projects.