Archer Lodge has an historic opportunity. As North Carolina’s newest town, Archer Lodge (near Clayton in Johnston County, southeast of Raleigh) can break the mold and provide quality city services at a nearly 50 percent savings.

How? Follow the lead of Sandy Springs, Georgia, and other cities that are using competition to keep costs down and quality up. In 2005, Sandy Springs incorporated and hired the international management firm CH2M Hill OMI (I agree, that is an awkward name, but they must like it.) to provide the public services previously provided by Fulton County at a savings of nearly 50 percent.

The private management firm provides all public works, community development, finance, and administrative services. The city council decided to establish its own police and fire departments with city employees, although those services have been contracted out in other cities.

Johns Creek, Georgia, followed suit and uses a private firm to provide city services to a town of 65,000 with only five public employees. The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognized Johns Creek with its Public/Private Partnership Award in 2008.

While Archer Lodge is much smaller than these two examples, it has the opportunity to get off on the right foot by making competition through competitive bidding work to save scarce taxpayer dollars. The town council can compare the quality of services with the price offered not only by private management firms, but by neighboring political jurisdictions. This process provides an extremely flexible approach needed during the startup phase of a new town.

For more information for Archer Lodge, or any other North Carolina town interested in using competition to save money, see the Competitive Sourcing section in the John Locke Foundation’s City & County Issue Guide.

In addition, these books provide lots of "nuts and bolts" details on how the process works and what to look out for to ensure that quality services are provided at the lowest cost: