Are there other ways to deliver some services?

The Sentinel recently ran an article on Craig Nelson, a volunteer who purchases the plants and tends the beautiful flower gardens at Lincoln Park in Fairmont. The beds were to be razed because the city has had fewer funds and workers in recent years to take care of them. Nelson not only stepped up to buy and care for the flowers, he extended the beds from two to six. Amazing.

Which makes us stop and think.

We know there are countless organizers and volunteers in area communities who commit time and effort to projects and causes they really believe in. Their enthusiasm comes from within, from a desire to see their contributions really make a difference.

Governments, obviously, can and do commit to programs, projects and services. We suppose many of these are seen as inevitable government functions. But we wonder if some would not be better – in practice and in cost to taxpayers – if they were delivered by people who really cared about them. At the very least, we believe governments at all levels should look to turn over more functions to volunteers, civic groups, churches, charities and others dedicated to doing good.

When government does something, not everyone agrees with it, yet everyone must pay for it. If those who advocate for government services instead found ways to provide programs and services, they would be truly living their own beliefs, rather than trying to make others do so. Flower beds may be one example. Park maintenance could be another. Or social services delivered through charities and churches, thus eliminating bureaucracy. Perhaps some reforms would be better than others. The question is:?Are government leaders and community members thinking about these matters regularly?