Democrat-run Austin City Hall is buzzing after they were caught yet again wasting citizens’ hard-earned money.

While Austinites are being taxed out of their homes, city officials are squandering citizens’ cash on unused pagers.

According to a recent city audit report, city officials spent $88,000 per year on communication service for over 1,600 of the peak 1980s-era devices, many of which are not even used by employees. The audit also showed $13,000 was spent on pagers for people who no longer work for the city—one of whom hadn’t worked there since 2011.

“The City has not effectively managed pagers, resulting in unnecessary spending and possibly impacting the City’s ability to communicate in an emergency,” read the audit.

“The City paid for unused pagers including those assigned to staff who no longer work for the City,” the report continued. “Also, the City does not have a strategic way of knowing if key staff are connected to the system or using their devices, which may result in critical communication lapses.”

The report explained they analyzed pager accounts and surveyed city employees with pagers, and found nearly half said they receive a message once a month or less. Thirty-one percent of the surveyed employees did not even know where their device was located, and 66 percent said they could accomplish their work tasks without one.

Eliminating the hundreds of near-dormant accounts, “which represent 42 percent of all City pager accounts, would save the City approximately $37,000 per year.”

“Several departments have reduced or eliminated their use of pagers in the last year,” the report added. “At one point, pagers had unique advantages over other communication devices. Due to technological advancements, some users no longer find pagers necessary.”

“Cell service providers have the ability to prioritize calls and messages for emergency responders. This ability addresses previous concerns that critical staff may not get messages if the cell network is overwhelmed with calls.”

Sadly for Austinites, this story is just the latest in city hall’s trail of mishandling citizens’ cash.

For example, the all-Democrat Austin City Council overspent $140 million on a flawed tunnel, flushed away $450,000 on two public toilets, wasted $115,000 to clean one public toilet, literally gave away a total of millions to citizens who simply emailed the city asking for cash, lavished $156,000 on holiday parties in December 2019, and threw away a whopping $1 billion on a catastrophic biomass power plant project that only produced energy for six months before it was permanently shut down.

More recently, city officials also hired a convicted thief and subsequently were robbed of $1.3 million of taxpayer money.

And while city hall manages money like a drunk South Padre partier on Spring Break, working-class Austinites are the ones suffering the most. The city council is charging the median homeowner 100 percent more in taxes than 12 years ago, and according to a United Way report, 42 percent of area families are struggling to pay their bills.

Concerned citizens can contact the Austin City Council—though we’d recommend doing so by a more modern form of communication.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.


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