Administration & Regulatory Affairs

 

 

Regulatory Affairs

 

Our mission is to efficiently provide reliable service of exceptional quality to the citizens of Houston in the areas of licensing and permitting vehicles for hire in order to ensure the public's safety; the permitting of over 50 categories of commercial activities in order to ensure community standards; and the administration and collection of franchise fees in order to maximize the public's revenue from private use of the public right-of-way.

Tina Paez | ARA Director

 

 

Division Responsibilities

 

 

Transportation
Responsible for issuing licenses and permits to the operators and drivers of several different categories of vehicles for hire that include taxicabs, limousines, private school vehicles, scheduled ground transportation and charter sightseeing vehicles. The Transportation Section also performs field enforcement ensuring compliance by the drivers and operators of vehicles for hire.

 

Utility Regulation
Exercises original jurisdiction over rates charged to Houston citizens by gas utilities and private water companies operating within the city limits. In addition, the section maintains local regulatory authority over electric utilities and selected cable television providers. In connection with these duties, Utility Regulation monitors legislative issues and participates in administrative and judicial proceedings with state regulatory authorities. The section is also responsible for vehicle-for-hire (ie taxicab, limousine, etc) and storage lot hearings.

 

Commercial Permitting & Enforcement
Commercial Permitting & Enforcement has three primary functions: (1) customer service; (2) billing and collections; and, (3) enforcement. To this end, we daily engage in compliance investigations, permit processing and fee collection activities associated with over 50 various commercial permits, as well as various tasks related to providing a centralized cashiering function for various City departments.

 

Franchise Administration
Franchise Administration collects franchise fees from electric and gas utilities, cable television and telecommunications providers, solid waste transporters, and businesses operating under right-of-way encroachment ordinances. In connection with these duties, Franchise Administration coordinates audits and compliance reviews, and actively monitors state and federal legislation and administrative proceedings that impact these fees.

 

Burglar Alarm Administration
Burglar Alarm Administration oversees permitting and collections for approximately 100,000 monitored burglar alarm systems within the City limits. Our objective is to encourage burglar alarm permitting education and compliance among homeowners and commercial entities, as well as false alarm prevention to reduce the number of false alarm notifications within the City limits that divert police officers from their proactive crime prevention efforts and delay actual police service and emergency calls.