Editorial: Transparency has great day in city hall - Reporter-Herald

For municipal government junkies, it’s learning the little things that can be the most rewarding.

Like finding out that Loveland City Council members spend, on average, about $300 on meals about twice per month when they have dinner before a council meeting. Or that the facilitator for the January workshop charged only a little bit more than the caterer that day: $2,895 for the facilitator, $2,461 — and 25 cents — for the food.

We will leave to others to discern whether that is too much or too little, because caterers and workshop facilitators are professionals who deserve to be paid for their time and labor.

What is praiseworthy is that the city has made such statistics available to the average resident with nothing more than an internet connection and some time.

The new website, https://lovelandco.opengov.com, went active last week, and it offers viewers an unprecedented opportunity to go over the check register from just about any city department for just about any city expense. The intuitive nature of the site allows for viewers to look at the big picture or details.

The internet is making such transparency from government more possible every day, and many local jurisdictions are taking advantage of it. Both Larimer County and the city of Fort Collins make the emails of the elected leaders available for public inspection online, and the county commissioners in particular have demonstrated a commitment to transparency at this level.

Loveland is on its way to catching up — and who knows, when the city decides it can have its elected officials’ emails online as well, it just might set the standard for regional transparency.

By OpenGov
Published: May 23, 2016
Source: Loveland Reporter-Herald