In the years from January 2002 to present, Lubbock City Council members have spent more than $83,000 tax payer dollars on travel expenses. Councilman Gary Boren says, "A lot of times trips are taken, people take trips and it becomes a vacation type thing, and I want to eliminate that."
Council members voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass a resolution limiting council's travel spending. Under that resolution, each council member, including the mayor, now has a travel spending limit of $3,000 per year. Any spending beyond that must be approved in a public council meeting. Boren says, "This is an effort to have more accountability with the tax payers money. The only time we need to travel is if we're doing city business, going before the legislature to try to get bills passed that are pro-neighborhood, pro-citizens, pro-Lubbock."
NewsChannel 11 filed an open records request to see exactly how the spending breaks down and here's what we found: from 2002 to present:
Patterson's whopping total is largely due to travel made necessary by his involvement in the Texas Municipal League or TML. Boren says, "I personally don't agree with the Texas Municipal League." Patterson says, "I feel good about what I'm doing. My head is held high. I have nothing to hide." TML pushes for legislation which "individual cities have neither time, money nor strength to do alone." Patterson says, "If I put down everything, they'd owe me money."
Records received by NewsChannel 11 show many members of council stayed at hotels such as the Hilton and the Hyatt when they travel. Boren says that may be because a convention is hosted at those hotels, but otherwise their cost would not be practical.