Lilly Longshore, in her Dec. 3 letter "Maintain facilities with city crews," brings up a matter that all of us using Vancouver's sewer services should be concerned about. Services were contracted out years ago and the Vancouver City Council has basically kicked the original contract for millions of dollars (your monthly bill payments for sewerage) down the road without a thorough review. The original idea to save money by contracting with French company Vieola has been lost as there's been no open bidding process for years. For all we know the city could do better by hiring its own employees and use any savings to bolster its fragile financial situation. This contract is the largest recurring expense the council deals with and yet elected folks didn't bat an eye when this item last came before council. At the time, I complained loudly about this not being put out for bid.
The city has come to rely on public-private partnerships to the point that they celebrate the anniversaries of these partnerships and rely on these companies to provide support of city festivities including the Fourth of July. Despite having good or bad service from these companies, the city would do best to have strictly professional relationships with its private contractors.