Honorable Mayor & Commissioners,
City of DeLand,
120 S. Florida Ave.,
DeLand, FLA 32720.
Subject: Annual Budget Plea #3
Long, long ago, organizations solicited money that they might use it to perform good works. They had volunteers knocking on doors and standing on street corners collecting money. People organized fund-raising events in order to induce the wealthy to pull out their wallets.
The enthusiasm with which the public responded governed how much of that organizations good works were to be performed. Organizations whose works were generally shunned by the public would, over time, fade for want of support.
The method of assessing public support by directly measuring public support has fallen out of favor lately. In this modern era, worthy causes which the public finds unworthy of support come to government instead. Every year at budget time, we see the finest collection of tin cups rattling at budget workshops and hearings. Groups whom the public has refused to support directly come to our City and County governments, hoping for that which the public has refused.
A truly representative government would take note of the publics refusal to support these groups, and do likewise. I hope that the Commission will remember this at budget time.
At the same time, I make a distinction between donations and contracting for services. Many groups which we consider charitable provide valuable services which would otherwise have to be provided directly by government entities.
For such services, I propose that the city not make any donations. Instead, it would be appropriate to quantify and qualify the services to be provided, and award contracts for such services. I endorse the setting of per-unit-service rates in such contracts: a reading program would tutor so many kids for so many hours; a day-care program would allow so many mothers to hold steady jobs.
Once we have identified the services to be provided, it is only reasonable that we should seek bidders. I believe that, in many cases, our existing community organizations will be able to serve more people better than outside industry. I think its fair to let them prove it.
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