County outsourcing not a bad thing
While we would rather see as many jobs stay local as possible, we also understand the need for government to outsource as many jobs as possible in order to cut costs.
Tulare County has been looking at ways to cut costs and one way it found a savings was to have county property tax payments sent to a bank in Los Angeles for processing.
Today, instead of dropping off their payment at a county office, property owners are asked to mail their payments to Union Bank in Los Angeles. The process has been going on for four years and officials say it has resulted in a substantial savings. Tulare County Chief Deputy Treasurer-Tax Collector Hiley Wallis, while not giving exact figures, said the process has saved the county thousands of dollars, but more importantly, she pointed out it has resulted in fewer missed payments. In fact, the county has seen a 46% decrease in the number of calls pertaining to property tax bills. Lobby traffic is also down.
A local banker told us that no jobs were lost in the county, except maybe those at the county, but no local banks were equipped to handle the processing of the payments, especially the volume that occurs only twice a year. The banker pointed out you could not hire the extra people just for that twice-a-year process.
Hopefully, the county and other local governments are looking for ways to cut costs, but to do so by cutting jobs through attrition, not by layoffs. In these days of high taxes, and budget cuts, government needs to be as efficient as possible, even if that means looking to the private sector to handle some duties once done by government workers. We can think of several ideas that could be explored — privatized parks and refuse handling are two — and while none will be easily accomplished, the bottom line is government needs to find ways to reduce costs without reducing service.