Commentary and conversations about life in Richmond, Indiana

Government and Politics

Sell off our future before it’s too late

What are we waiting for?

If all Richmond needs to do is raise some cash to take care of a few things, we have some great options! There are tons of companies out there waiting to take over management of our land, our green spaces, our parks, our roads, our buildings, our fiber optic network, our landfill, our jails, our healthcare, our water, our power generation, the very air we breathe.

All we have to do is sign on the dotted line and promise to let those companies act in ways that always, always maximize their profits, no matter what the impact on our community or our way of life. Simple!

Who cares if every household sees an occasional bump in our utility and trash disposal costs? Who wouldn’t mind paying a small toll to use US-40 every day? Who’s really going to notice if we store some toxic chemicals under Glen Miller Park? Who would really mind additional semi truck traffic coming in to town at all hours? It’s cash in the bank, folks!

And as long as the private companies agree to hire current city employees initially, we can just awkwardly look the other way a year or two from now when those jobs are eliminated or transferred out of town. Thanks for your service!

Yes, there can be bumps along the way. Yes, the town of Colonie, New York (cited by Richmond Common Council member Jamie Lopeman as a possible model to follow here) decided to privatize management of its landfill in a 25-year contract and then ended up having to pay a half a million dollar fine because the private company messed up. And yes, the residents there say that the odors coming from the landfill since privatization have been much more noticeable. (Article links may prompt you to log in, but you can Google it.) Yes, there are some concerns about water quality issues. But PEOPLE! We have to accept some huge fines here and awful smells there if we want to make progress.

If selling off our future ends up making us sick or changing the landscapes we love or costing us more money than we made from the deals initially, so be it…our kids and their kids will just have to figure that out when the time comes. Surely they’ll appreciate that we made a bunch of cash way back when! Kids, your grandparents were WINNERS, now eat your sludgesicle.

Paradise doesn’t make money. Parking lots do. Let’s get paving!

1 Comment

  1. christopher burrell

    Good piece here. I ride my bike through a neighboring community that privatized its public water. Last summer in the midst of a severe drought when the state of Massachusetts finally pushed cities/town to enact watering bans, I noticed that many homeowners were still watering their lawns with auto-sprinklers. So I called the town. They responded: “We don’t deal with that. Call Aquarion.” So, I called Aquarion and got an answering machine. Weeks later, I got a call back. With a very tepid response. Bottomline: What do they care about a drought when they are making money off the wealthy folks (who also don’t seem to care about impacts of drought) who want to have green lawns in August.

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