Saving $1,900 per tree (or: a brief lesson in government inefficiency)

Sometimes, one sentence can show how government is ill-suited to provide certain products and services.

From But only Parks can price a tree, SILive.com, March 3 2010:

The Parks Department charges $1,900 to plant one 8-inch sapling, and usually takes months to do so; builders who testified before the Council said they pay anywhere between $300 and $500 to purchase the same tree.

A quick Google search turned me on to Musser Forests, a tree farm in Pennsylvania, that sells 3-year red oak seedlings (3- to 5-feet tall) for $6.59 each (minimum purchase: 5). Add in shipping, and it’s still only $15.09 per tree. Want your trees shipped in two days? Only $31.59 per tree.

Granted, a 3- to 5-foot sapling is a bit smaller than what is usually used as a replacement tree (about half the size), but oak trees grow about two feet per year.  Is two years of tree-growth worth saving nearly $500 — or, as it is with the Parks Department, $1,900?

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4 Comments.

  1. As someone who works in government, I know 99%people in government just don’t care. I can tell you stories that will make your head spin. Where I work we use to operate group homes, we did away with this so we decided to renovate it, after spending over $100,000 they decided it wasn’t practical. I have 1000 stories like that one, plus how fucking up on certain things can cost us millions of dollars. My Agency alone spends around 120 million dollars per month. Crazy numbers.

  2. It’s easy to spend money when it isn’t your own.

  3. The figures truly boggle the mind. It is hard to believe government can grow so wildly by sheer accident.

  4. Sounds like someone cut a sweet deal with the nursery. I wonder how many bids were put in on this purchase?

    …I’m betting ONE BID.

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