Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Cook County and City of Chicago partner on certain operations: Save $20 million

See "Emanuel, Preckwinkle tout $20 million saved in city-county partnership" from the Chicago Sun-Times.

From the article:

Chicago and Cook County will save $20.5 million this year by joining forces on everything from elections, some purchasing and revenue collection to custodial services and workforce development, but the next round of cuts will be tougher, officials said Tuesday.

“It is easy to migrate back to your respective silos and not cooperate, not collaborate and not coordinate. [But], the goal is not to spike the ball on the 30-yard line and say, ‘We’ve got $20 million.’ We have much more work to get done, much more culture to break down,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

It is true that in DC, initiatives starting under Mayor Fenty to coordinate deliver of certain kinds of services (such as lawnmowing) for multiple agencies (parks, schools, general city government) into master contracts make sense and save money (although the Washington City Paper suggested something like this in a cover story in the mid-1990s, in discussing systems like maintaining boilers, and how the schools, public housing agency, and other divisions of city government all had different people doing the same thing).

I can see this being a problem though between jurisdictions at times. Montgomery and Prince George's Counties have a "joint" water and sewer authority, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. It has an equal number of representatives from both jurisdictions. The PG County reps have been more interested in contracting and getting their share of the work for businesses in their county, and keeping rates down, rather than investing in rebuilding crumbling infrastructure. See "Prince George's Fixation with WSSC Minority Contracting Never Ends" from the Maryland Politics blog.

So it goes both ways. (There are many examples of cross-jurisdictional water and sewerage organizations across the country, the suburban Maryland organization is not unique.)

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