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Money Matters -- Public-Private Partnerships for Municipal Utilities, Part 1: The City Needs More Money - Sell the Utility! (PDF)

  • Author(s): Baird, Gregory M.
  • Publications: Journal - American Water Works Association
  • Issue Date: August 2012
  • Volume / Number: 104, Number 8
  • Page(s): 16, 18-20
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5942/jawwa.2012.104.0112
  • Product Number: JAW_0076390
Full Text: pdf

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Abstract

Nearly 85% of U.S. water utilities are owned or controlled by local governments. This condition creates the scenario in which a mayor - running for re-election - rushes into the water utility manager's office and exclaims, "The city needs more money - so sell the utility!" Municipally owned utilities continually face the challenge of demonstrating cost-effectiveness as well as the risk of some type of a change in accountability and maybe even ownership. The degree to which the utility is privatized could include everything from outsourcing, leasing, or assigning operations and maintenance activities to the sale of the asset (private ownership).

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