City of Loveland launches 'financial transparency tool' - Reporter-Herald

Residents will be able to access budget data and check and credit card information on Loveland website

By Saja Hindi

City of Loveland officials this week launched a financial tool accessible to residents on the city’s website.

Residents will be able to access six years’ worth of budget data as well as check and credit card transactions in a searchable database from the past three years in the OpenGov online portal, which officials call a “financial transparency tool.”

“One of the most important jobs we do in our community is to build trust, and OpenGov is a great way to do that,” City Manager Bill Cahill said in a news release. “Openness and transparency are more than just good ideas. They are ideals that we are putting to work in our service to citizens, and OpenGov is a prime example.”

As with any new technology, there will be a learning curve with OpenGov, finance director Brent Worthington said in the release.

“The platform is a very powerful tool that I think many Loveland residents will use,” he said.

Details of municipal court-related payments will be less descriptive to “protect the privacy of the parties involved, which otherwise might be unjustly compromised,” the release stated.

Approximately 230,000 check and credit card records are available for public view, city spokesman Tom Hacker said. The portal has information on 174,696 checks, which total more than $676 million, and 57,508 credit card transactions, which total more than $13.4 million.

OpenGov is a company based in Redwood, Calif., that has more than 1,000 government customers in 45 states, according to the news release. The platform will allow Loveland officials to compare their data with other governments’ numbers, and it will provide opportunities for collaboration.

Other municipal governments such as Fort Collins’ and Larimer County’s have taken their own steps toward transparency in the past, including making elected officials’ emails available to residents online. The county commissioners’ emails have been online since 2010.

While officials at the city of Loveland have discussed the possibility of posting City Council members’ emails online, currently they are available to residents only through the City Clerk’s Office during normal business hours.

To find out more about the portal or to locate information that has been uploaded, go to www.cityofloveland.org/OpenGov.

Saja Hindi: 970-669-5050 ext. 521, hindis@reporter-herald.com, twitter.com/SajaHindiRH.

By OpenGov
Published: May 20, 2016
Source: Loveland Reporter-Herald