Late Fees to Big Pass Provide Opportunity to Improve!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
January 1, 2004

Although I would like to review this year's goals here in January, I prefer to share information that I think can have an effect on our pocketbooks, short and long-term.  Therefore I am sharing some news with you that I believe may seem small, but I believe to be one of the many measures that if taken along with a host of other measures, will over time  greatly benefit our community.

In a continuing effort to conduct County business with transparency and accountability, I am sharing information with the public that involves our County operation, of which I am quite proud, but definitely not satisfied in all respects. 

In a casual review of our County's energy bills being paid to CPS I noticed an alarming $6,000.00 in late fees paid in 2003 to CPS on our energy bills.  There is simply no excuse for this kind of negligence.  Also, knowing that out of a roughly $463 million 2003-04 budget for the County and another $562.1 million for the 2003-04 University Health System budget, costly slips like this can and likely do occur.  All of this brings me to the inescapable conclusion that our County can and must do a better job internally to control such unnecessary mistakes. 

It is with this spirit that I have made an effort to exercise the highest degree of caution over our operation and control of funds.  I will continue to hunt for areas where our County can save money by eliminating waste.  Excellent service and respect for our taxpayers should drive our vigil over the monies and the mission entrusted to our care.

VIA Big Pass

What do more money in the pockets of our employees, a breath of fresh air, less frazzled nerves and energy independence have to do with the Transportation Initiative of Bexar County?  Everything!

Bexar County is making significant progress in transportation life of its employees.  The graph I have assembled reflects a truly dynamite trend in the making based over the last 2 years of experience by Bexar County with the VIA Big Pass purchases by County Employees.  What's more, this clearly demonstrates that working together, we can all do something to keep money in the pockets of our employees, clean the air, reduce dependence on foreign oil and decongest traffic and downtown parking.

Just think:  On the larger Downtown level, 50,000 people are estimated to be driving to and from downtown everyday, most as single occupants of the car they are driving!  Just a 10% reduction of single-occupant vehicles should reduce by 5,000 cars the traffic and parking dilemma of our downtown!

The cost saving matrix I also constructed indicates the savings that each employee currently driving downtown can personally save based upon how much they pay for parking and how far they travel roundtrip.  And, this applies to virtually any person working downtown.  Additionally, this matrix does not take into account savings that can accrue to "insurance-by-the mile" auto insurance premium reduction potential.  So, there is even more savings the matrix reflects.

Again, when this initiative succeeds, our entire community will realize a huge benefit with less traffic to contend with, cleaner air, less dependence on foreign oil and more ample parking for our downtown patrons.  Also this will be of great importance to all employers public and private who have to finance ground level or God forbid, multi-million dollar, multi-level parking garages.  Our success means a lessening of never-ending demand for more and more needless expenditures in this area.  And, I am not even mentioning the huge benefit of being in compliance with clean air standards and not being penalized by the EPA which can affect the amount of desperately needed road construction monies we receive.

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