Austin City Manager Marc Ott is rolling out a new initiative, calling on his employees to identify ways the city can trim its budget. In a time when Austinites are having to do the same this is a welcome sight.

The program is called Dollars and Cents and at the onset it is designed trim the budget by 2 percent. Employee’s cost-cutting ideas will be presented to the city council next month.

Currently the City of Austin is working with roughly $600 million in the general fund budget this year.

While this is a sign that the city is moving in the right direction there is another resource still to be tapped, the citizens of Austin.

Right now all state agencies are required to post their expenditures online, in real time. This has lead to millions of dollars in realized savings and the potential for more as concerned citizen’s comb the web spotting wasted tax dollars.

Ott’s army of twelve thousand employees tasked with recognizing inefficiencies would be well over half a million if expenditures and bidding were openly available for review.

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is Executive Director of Direct Action Texas, a statewide research and election integrity watchdog. You can learn more about the organization at www.DirectActionTexas.com.

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