June 03, 2005
Parker to audit SafeClear

Cinty Controller Annise Parker has announced an audit of the SafeClear program in order to get a better grip on how much the free tows are costing the city.

Mayor Bill White admits there have been a lot of changes to Safe Clear, including the program's cost.

"There were some times where I was having a hard time getting a straight answer as to what the cost is," admitted Mayor White. "I think we have a pretty good idea now."

Since most short distance tows are now free. The Safe Clear program is costing the city money. City Controller Annise Parker announced on Thursday she's going to find out exactly how much.

She said, "We can show how much wrecker drivers paid for the privilege for the tow, how many tow slips have been submitted to the city, and what the outside expenses are to be."

Parker says the program's still too young for a full audit, but she will get a full financial review completed before city council members vote on next year's budget. In that budget Mayor White is expecting to spend $1.5 million on Safe Clear.

"Safe Clear has worked," insisted Mayor White. "It's the most cost effective thing we do in transportation and public safety."

The controller doesn't disagree, but she says even well intentioned programs need to be financially sound.

Parker explained, "We all as taxpayers have a right to know what it truly costs to provide what I think is a necessary service."

I'm cool with this. I think SafeClear has worked pretty well since the initial bumps were ironed out, but it still has to be cost-effective. We can't know if it is without taking a good look at it now and again.

The KHOU story puts a bit of spin on this at the end.

The mayor said that the controller's decision to conduct an audit was great, but there is clearly some tension. The mayor's staff thinks the controller is implying that Mayor White is somehow withholding information from City Council.

This would not be the first time there's been some tension reported between the Mayor's office and the Controller's. If that never happened, Parker would not be doing her job properly. I doubt this will cause any lasting fractures.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 03, 2005 to Local politics | TrackBack