At a recent budget advisory commission meeting my fellow Powell City Council member Sara Marie Brenner heightened the public's awareness of using privatization and consolidation to reduce Powell's expenses.

At a recent budget advisory commission meeting my fellow Powell City Council member Sara Marie Brenner heightened the public's awareness of using privatization and consolidation to reduce Powell's expenses.

Privatization and consolidation are not new concepts to Powell council and city manager Steve Lutz. Powell has been quietly and effectively using privatization and consolidation for many years to reduce Powell's expenses.

The most visible evidence of privatization is Powell's use of Rumpke to provide waste removal and recycling. In addition, Powell uses private providers for custodial services, fertilization and weed control, vehicle maintenance and repairs and printing documents. Rather than having a lawyer, registered architect and surveyor on staff or expanding the building or engineering departments, Powell engages private providers of those services, in part because those services are not needed on a full-time, consistent basis.

Powell also uses consolidation to be more cost-effective. Powell residents will recognize the Regional Income Tax Authority, or RITA, as the most visible of sign of consolidation. Powell has joined with over 160 Ohio municipalities to provide municipal tax collection services. In addition to RITA, Powell has engaged the Delaware County prosecutor to prosecute its criminal actions, uses the state purchasing program to buy police cruisers, participates in a joint purchasing program for salt and recently has joined the Central Ohio Risk Management Association to reduce its liability insurance cost.

Privatization and consolidation are trendy buzzwords in the political scene today. They are not a panacea and have greater implications than just saving money, as Brenner learned when she presented the idea of eliminating the Powell Police Department and putting our officers under the control of the Delaware County sheriff.

Residents attending that meeting voiced great concern over a potential loss of control over the police department and a reduction in service. They expressed skepticism because the bulk of that savings would come from shifting the burden of officer benefits from Powell to the county, as occurs with officers allocated to Orange Township.

Privatization and consolidation have worked well for Powell in the past, but must be well thought out to obtain value and not just a reduction of dollars.