The Office of Telecommunications & Regulatory Affairs negotiates and administers utility franchise agreements and telecommunications licenses to ensure the City receives fair compensation for the private use of public rights-of-way. TARA exercises the City’s authority to review the justification and reasonableness of electric and gas utility rate increases on behalf of ratepayers prior to City Council approval. TARA provides collection services for City departments and investigates claims for damages to City property. The office advocates for the public interest in community technology by providing support and resources to promote digital inclusion for all. TARA also advocates for the welfare of the citizens of Austin by monitoring credit access businesses to reduce abusive predatory lending practices.