An audit of city-owned parking garages in Fort Worth has uncovered lax financial controls and recouped $163,277 in money owed to the city.
Fort Worth owns nearly 8,000 parking spaces in four parking garages downtown and at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.
The lots are owned by the city but managed by a private company known as SP Plus.
The review found the vendor owed the city $163,277 in advance fees that had never been repaid as required by a contract. The money was refunded quickly after auditors asked about it, the review said.
"It's not acceptable," said city council member Cary Moon who chairs the audit committee. "We've got to do better with taxpayer money."
The audit highlighted a number of concerns, including a lack of basic data such as the number of cars going into and leaving the garages.
Such lack of information makes it difficult for the city to confirm whether it is getting all the money it should, according to the audit.
The city's garages brought in nearly $5.5 million in 2017, auditors said.
The review also found customers were not given cash receipts.
In addition, the audit raised questions about discounted or free parking that some city managers handed out – even though there is no written guidance on when that is appropriate.
"We've got to be more prudent with our contracts when we allow people to do work on the city's behalf," Moon said.
SP Plus did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
The audit made recommendations on how to improve financial oversight and city administrators agreed with all of them.
The garages are located on Houston Street, Commerce Street, Taylor Street and at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.