I was doing some last minute shopping downtown and was happy to see that the meters were free. I think that is a good idea: lure shoppers to the city center at Christmas time and put some extra cash in the coffers. Nothing wrong with that, right? Nothing until you see the cover on the meters. It says “Free Parking brought to you by City Council and City Parking System.”
Wow, the City Council members and employees of the City Parking System paid for this themselves? How generous!
Of course they didn’t pay for it themselves, but I find the language interesting. The money belongs to the citizens of Colorado Springs, not the City Council or Parking System.
And no, the covers should not be replaced at taxpayer expense. I simply want elected officials and government employees to think about the relationship between citizens and their government the next time they print a message like this. A friend of mine in the private sector has a message on his paycheck: “Paid for by our customers.” I like it. Always remember who the customer is, or who is paying the bills.
Is this the biggest problem in City government? Absolutely not, but I want my government to know it serves the citizens and not the other way around.