It is the clearest sign of the direction historic preservation may be going: Even a building called Government House, a 19th-century mansion in Baltimore’s Midtown neighborhood, is now in private hands….The 15 properties identified for possible sale or lease include the mansion at Cylburn Arboretum, President Street Station and the Old Town Friends’ Meeting House, which dates to 1781 and is the city’s oldest religious structure. Some properties such as the Upton Mansion and Clifton Park Valve House have fallen into disrepair; others are still being used by city agencies.
Annapolis could take another step toward outsourcing city trash collection — which could save millions of dollars but also cost up to 20 city workers their jobs….Hiring the lowest-bidding and best-qualified contractor could save the city $1.2 million in the first year and $1.7 million in subsequent years. It would also mean layoffs for some city employees.
The bids have not been made public, but during Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting Bates Trucking Trash Removal was mentioned as the preferred bidder. Bates, headquartered in Prince George’s County, currently hauls recycling for the city….At stake for the Department of Public Works are the jobs of 20 trash employees, some of whom have more than 20 years of service.
Washington County will help promote a private curbside-recycling program to be launched in June by Allied Waste, at which point the county’s unmanned recycling drop-off bins will be removed, the Washington County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday….The recycling drop-off boxes at the Forty West Landfill and the county’s four manned landfill transfer centers will remain, but the county will begin charging a fee for use of those boxes, Murray said. Currently, there is no charge for county residents to use the drop-off boxes, and their cost — about $350,000 a year — comes from landfill revenue…….Allied Waste’s recycling service will provide biweekly, single-stream recycling pickup to all homes in certain areas of the county that do not “opt out” of the program, said Don Groseclose, Chesapeake area municipal manager for Allied Waste….Murray said Allied Waste had indicated it could provide the service for $5 per month per household, but Groseclose said he was not ready to commit to a rate because the final figure would depend on how many homes participate.
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board today voted to approve an innovative 35-year agreement with Areas USA MDTP, LLC, to redevelop and operate the two aging travel plazas along the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) in northeast Maryland. The agreement is the State’s newest public-private partnership (P3) following the award-winning P3 agreement with a private partner to improve and operate Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore.
Building and expanding public infrastructure is critical to improving Maryland’s economy, strengthening its social and environmental well-being and creating jobs. Public infrastructure, including roads,rail, water, sewers, and public buildings, such as schools, courthouses and health facilities, typically requires large upfront capital investments to construct and significant long-term costs to operate and maintain.
Public-private partnerships (P3) are one of many initiatives that can help address infrastructure needs. Initial estimates by Maryland departments overseeing capital projects have found that additional P3s could contribute between 6 and 10% of Maryland’s $3.1 billion annual capital budget while creating as many as 4,000 jobs.
Joint Legislative and Executive Commission on Oversight of Public-Private Partnerships
Baltimore County Council members said Tuesday they believe taxpayers will get a good deal under a plan to install more speed and red-light cameras later this year.
A proposed contract with ACS State & Local Solutions was the focus of a work session during which council members questioned officials from County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s administration about the finances of the traffic-camera program, the bidding process for the contract, and the way fines are collected….Under the current contract, the county pays ACS nearly $12,000 a month per speed camera. The difference with the new proposal is that ACS’s payment would be based on the number of tickets issued, not the number of cameras, budget director Keith Dorsey told council members. ACS would get a certain percentage of each fine.
Source: American Traffic Solutions, Press Release, July 8th, 2011
American Traffic Solutions continued to set the pace for the road safety camera industry with a robust second quarter that saw 28 communities sign contracts/notices to proceed for 274 Red-Light and Speed-Compliance Safety Cameras, a sharp increase from the 29 contracts/notices to proceed and 170 cameras sold in the first quarter. This steady growth can be attributed to Road Safety Camera Program’s proven record of reducing red-light-running violations and related crashes.
A breakdown of the numbers for the second quarter reveals that ATS signed contracts with 10 new communities to deliver 166 new cameras, executed 17 agreements to expand the number of cameras in contracted communities by 102 and won an additional six-camera contract with Clayton County, Ga., whose agreement with ATS expired and was re-bid. This year, ATS has executed agreements with local governments to install, maintain and operate 444 new and expansion Red-Light and Speed Compliance Safety Cameras. ATS has also extended or renewed 14 contracts this year.
St. Petersburg, Fla., represents the largest new contract executed during the second quarter of this year with the installation of 50 new Red-Light Safety Cameras, followed by Tampa, Fla., with 40. In New Jersey, where a multi-year pilot program for Red-Light Safety Cameras is in progress, three townships signed new agreements. Charles County, Maryland, also executed an expansion agreement to add 15 new cameras….
Recent stories in The Sun regarding contracting out by the State Highway Administration provide some important warnings to those who recommend the privatization of state services. …. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees of Maryland provided an early warning to the O’Malley administration of problems in the Department of Transportation through a letter to then-DOT Secretary John Porcari in July of 2007. At that time, our research department had reviewed trends in the Department of Transportation and found that between FY 2006 and FY 2009, contracting out was projected to increase by $196.8 million, or 42.3 percent.
A report on privatizing some functions of county government will be made available to the Frederick County Commissioners less than 24 hours before the consultant comes to present it, and it will not be available to the public prior to its presentation….Commissioners President Blaine Young announced Thursday that Oliver Porter of PPP Associations LLC was prepared to present the much-anticipated report, which outlines options for privatization in Frederick County government….The county hired PPP for $25,000 to find whether any public services could be provided at lower costs through public-private partnerships. Porter was involved in implementation of public-private partnerships in his hometown of Sandy Springs, Ga.
Frederick County residents angry about privatization
Source: Sherry Greenfield, Gazette, July 27, 2011
Solidarity with Sodexo food service workers
At the University of Washington in Seattle, 27 students were hauled out in handcuffs from the President’s office on May 12. Their crime? They had sat down, in an effort to get the president to meet with them. They wanted the university to “take a stand for worker rights” by ending its $3.4 million contract with the union-busting Sodexo company to operate concessions at the athletics stadium.
Undaunted by the arrests, the next week U of W students took over the Athletic Director’s office, where 13 of them again got arrested defending worker rights.
Meanwhile, students at Western Washington University celebrated victory after eight months of protests over the same issue. That university agreed to end the $150 million deal that allowed Sodexo to operate its dining facilities. Students had acted after a worker who was fired by Sodexo in the Dominican Republic visited the WWU campus to speak against Sodexo’s global human rights abuses….Actions in Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio…
…More student actions against sweatshops
At the University of Texas in Austin, students stepped up an eleven-year campaign for worker rights by sitting in at the president’s office until he agreed to meet with them. They call on the university to affiliate with the Workers Right’s Consortium (WRC), an independent labor rights monitoring group affiliated with 180 colleges and universities.
Cornell’s Students Against Sweatshops held a “study-in” their President’s office to demand that the University break off from the corporate-run Fair Labor Association (FLA) and support the WRC instead.
Students at Rutgers University in New Jersey and the College of William & Mary in Virginia also held peaceful sit-ins for better treatment of campus custodians and other university workers. Several were handcuffed and arrested.
And University of Maryland student activists occupied their President’s office over union-buster Daycon, whose workers have been on strike for a year. The Student Government Association had unanimously called on the President to immediately terminate the University’s contract with Daycon….