This week, the majority of the municipalities will have candidate forums for their various town council positions. Those who read my articles regularly know that I am a strong supporter of local government since it is the most responsive to the needs of the people it serves. Local elected officials must interact with their voters daily, whether at work, at play, or in their daily lives. It is in their best interests to listen attentively and treat residents with decency and respect. I strongly encourage all town inhabitants to attend, or at the very least Zoom into, the candidate forums in their towns. Each municipality in Summit County is collecting record amounts of money, so it is in your best interest to determine how your elected officials intend to use the money they have collected.
Some themes have arisen among the many town candidates that are worth mentioning. Many people are concerned about worker housing and child care and the impact these problems have on the local economy and general quality of life in the community. These are significant difficulties, but the key to garnering my support is to develop innovative solutions to these problems rather than just relying on higher taxes and increased government engagement.
Even while I believe certain child care hurdles are outside the control of elected officials, that should not prevent them from collaborating with state lawmakers and others to advocate for solutions. I freely admit that I am not an expert in the economics of child-care institutions, as I have said before. I have found that when there is a significant market demand for a product or service, as the waiting list for child care in Summit County demonstrates, private enterprises will attempt to fill the hole. I begin looking for laws, regulations, and bureaucracy that prohibit the free market from achieving its economic goals when the private market cannot make it work. This is where I find myself today.
I believe that the economics of child care operations are hampered by additional layers of complication that do not affect other industries, such as limits on the number of infants and toddlers that can be cared for by a single provider and the inherent market cap on the total cost of providing the service. Once reached a certain degree, the expense of having a second (or third) source of income is not significant enough to outweigh or justify the cost of child care required to perform the job duties. Summit County has been dealing with this issue for quite some time. A few years ago, my wife and I were confronted with the same economic predicament. When the cost of child care reaches a particular level, parents are forced to leave the employment to care for their children since the increased job income is consumed by the price of child care, resulting in a net-zero proposition.
It seems that increasing the provision of local child care in Summit County is unlikely to be done without some public subsidy, according to the bottom line. It is at this point that innovative ideas come into play. What measures may be taken to bring the cost of child care services down? What can be done to increase the number of child care providers who participate in the program? What can be done to improve the number of child care spaces available at a reasonable cost? Is there a set of too demanding rules that might be amended or abolished to expand the number of providers?