Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sandy Springs, Georgia: A New Paradigm
That's Eva Galambos, PhD. She's a retired economist who specialized in urban finance and labor economics. The people who live (and pay taxes) in Sandy Springs, Georgia call her Mayor, and they're extremely lucky to have her. What she, with the help of other like-minded civic heroes, accomplished in Sandy Springs in the past five years would make Ayn Rand proud. The Heritage Foundation featured Sandy Springs on their Blog, The Foundry yesterday. Don't miss the terrific video on the site produced by Reason.Com.
While cities across the country are cutting services, raising taxes and contemplating bankruptcy, something extraordinary is happening in a suburban community just north of Atlanta, Georgia.
Since incorporating in 2005, Sandy Springs has improved its services, invested tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure and kept taxes flat. And get this: Sandy Springs has no long-term liabilities.
The Heritage Foundation adds:
How’d they do it? Privatizing city services like paving streets, picking up trash and maintaining parks, doing for $25 million what would cost $50 million under a traditional city system. And, as Sandy Springs’ mayor Eva Galambo (sic) says, ”In comparison to all these other cities and counties that are having to furlough and having these terrible pension problems, our situation is excellent.”
For already existing cities about to go bankrupt, there is a way out. The city employees who have been counting on retiring at a young age and living off the taxpayers for the rest of their lives, have to face a choice: lose everything, or agree to convert those unsustainable pensions into some type of defined contribution plan as opposed to the defined benefits plan they had been promised by politicians who were simply buying their votes and allegiance with pie in the sky rhetoric. It shouldn't take someone with an advanced degree in Economics to understand why so many cities (not to mention a former world leading country) are going broke.