According to the Houston Chronicle, the Downtown Management District and the city of Houston are looking at ways to make downtown parking less of a hassle so people will want to be repeat customers. Although it took them a long time, I am glad to hear that the city is FINALLY starting to study these issues, something I have been calling for since I ran for office in 2009.
One of my platform issues was to implement a tax dollar review program. Under this program, the controller’s office would have to audit every city program. Each program would come up for review on a rotation every X number of years, depending on the program. Some should be audited more often than others. The controller’s office already conducts audits at the mayor’s request, so adding the number of audits won’t increase costs for the city much, and the amount of waste they would find would pay for this and then some.
Parking meters is one of the examples I usually gave to illustrate this concept. What if we were spending more money on the salaries of those who gave tickets to violators than we were making from the meters? We finally know that parking meters are making the city money, but how many years did it take them to figure that out? If the city would have audited this program years ago, they would have found ways to streamline it and ways to make people want to come downtown more often. Instead, years later, they are just now realizing that changes need to be made.
Implementing a tax dollar review program across the city will surely show elected officials how to be better stewards of our money and will strengthen the effectiveness of our tax dollars.