Market forces can help cut costs

Two seemingly unrelated news items on Wednesday’s front page concerning local governments help illustrate the importance of competition in keeping costs low.

One of the articles — about the request for proposals involving trash and recyclable collection in Tiffin — points out the value of competition twice.

First, when the time came to discuss extending a contract with the current hauler, it became clear the rates it would charge city residents would rise. That’s not a surprise, considering the current contract limited local competition for trash-hauling services in the city.

Second, requesting proposals from other haulers resulted in a less-expensive option being offered by a competitor.

The other article — about bids for renovating the Seneca County Courthouse Annex — shows competition for that work resulted in bids that were far lower than estimates. The project was expected to cost $648,000, but commissioners accepted a bid for slightly more than the $500,000 already set aside for it.

This show that competition in the marketplace results in lower prices. It also indicates, as a corollary, that the federal government lacks competition.