QUESTION: When municipal garbage collection was privatized, the city-parish saved somewhere around 6 million to 8 million dollars (in mid-1980s dollars) a year and received a far superior garbage collection system. Now that the city-parish Department of Public Works has been reorganized, wouldn’t it would be a perfect time to commission a study by a qualified, impartial firm to determine if any or all of the separate DPW departments should be privatized?

ANSWER: Mayor-President Kip Holden says there are no current plans to study privatizing the DPW departments because that would be premature.

Approved by voters on Dec. 6, 2014, a plan, which went into effect Jan. 15, divides DPW into five departments: environmental services; transportation and drainage; maintenance; buildings and grounds; and fleet management and development. The yes votes were 58 percent of the 113,823 votes cast.

“I believe the public has already spoken from the standpoint of making DPW a series of smaller, more efficient and more effective organizations,” interim DPW Chief Bryan Harmon says. “There are already numerous activities throughout Public Works that have privatized support,” he adds. “As the new organization moves forward, we will continue to look at additional privatization.”

Holden adds that any decision to study privatization would rest on whether the reorganization plan is working. To do such a study now, he says, “would be a waste of the money we spent for the consultants” for the reorganization.

Not enough time?

QUESTION: The left turn signal at O’Neal Lane and Florida Boulevard (heading north on O’Neal and turning west on Florida) is way too short. Frequently in the mornings, there are more than 30 cars waiting to turn left and only 6 to 8 can make it on the arrow. Many people make poor decisions and drive the wrong way onto the feeder road heading west (timing it between cars coming). I have sat at that light for 12 minutes many times to make that turn. Can this be re-evaluated and corrected to make the left turn signal longer?

ANSWER: As we often do, we checked with city-parish traffic engineer Ingolf A. Partenheimer. And, as always, he sent us a prompt answer.

“I will get the signal engineer to look into the timings,” Partenheimer says. “We have had a big change in traffic flows as more and more people are finding this route.”

Thanks, Mr. P.!

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