Tuesday, December 20, 2011

High bills are one thing.....

....apparent incompetence is another thing altogether.


(Houston hits Harris Co. with huge drainage fee bill, Deborah Wrigley, KTRK 13 News Houston)
County commissioners have yet to recover from the first payment of the city's drainage fee that involves Reliant Park. This latest bill is ratcheting up tensions even more, but this time for good reason.

Reliant Park includes everything from Reliant Center, to the Astrodome, to Reliant Stadium and it's all county property that was built and paid for with county bond funds.

In downtown, there's Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park; both are city-owned properties. And that is why the county is wondering about its latest drainage fee bill.

"It apparently includes charges for both Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park," said Willy Loston with the Harris County Sports Authority.

To make matters worse, the letter states that the $88,000 the county paid in its first fee installment was an under-billing and about $4,000 more is due. And this latest bill is $107,000.
I'm wondering how long it will be until the City of Houston taxpayers realize that their County taxes are going to pay these bills? For County residents, many of whom don't use the stadiums they're now being (double) taxed for, this has to sting twice as hard.

From the beginning this money grab drainage fee has been a poorly implemented, terribly designed mess. One that will only get bigger and bigger as the City's thirst for funds increases.

Until then, there appears to be a lot of work that needs to be done to tie down rates, fees due and what actually needs to be taxed by a municipal works department that's horribly understaffed and overworked. Amazingly, despite no evidence of even the most basic competence, Mayor Parker drew no serious challengers during the last cycle and we're assured of two more years of this wandering mess.

If she doesn't draw a serious challenger in 2013, you have to wonder if Houston's City Government is finished a functioning democratic entity? After all, if the InterLeft has a problem with single-party State rule, then surely they would have a problem with single-party Municipal rule that ensures bad elected officials serve until term limited only because they are aligned with the preferred power brokers?

Sadly, no. The roar you're most likely to hear is them telling the County to "stop whining" and pay up, whether the bills are fair, correct or even for things they don't own.

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