South Fulton cities have more transparency on tap

Atlanta recently announced it is looking at launching a separate website to host all its financial information.

Supporters said a Transparent Atlanta website with easily accessible revenue and expense facts is in line with major cities like New York and Los Angeles.

“Transparency in government spending bolsters public confidence, improves responsiveness and promotes a greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility,” City Councilwoman Felicia Moore said in a statement.

College Park already adopted the trend through a Financial Transparency link on its home page at http://bit.ly/2tmtJcL.

Hosted by OpenGov.com, the platform allows visitors to explore line graphs and pie charts, customize the views to dig deeper into the information, examine real-time features and download spreadsheets for later use.

“At the touch of a button, users can immediately view or analyze custom reports documenting the city’s transactions,” reads a statement on the site.

Hapeville will be the next to embrace the technology, according to City Manager William Whitson, providing citizens with up-to-date information in a user-friendly way.

“Development is in progress, with plans for deployment being finalized as we speak,” he said.

Whitson added that although the city budgets are already posted under its website’s Financial Services tab http://bit.ly/2sovQZt, “we have gone the extra mile to implement this new transparency platform rather than stopping at what is legally mandated.”

East Point spokeswoman Renita Shelton said the city is looking at an in-house communication strategy to display data in a more transparent manner, besides the budgets it posts on its Finance page http://bit.ly/2soNAnC.

“At the core of its mission will be the creation of programs that use cutting-edge technology,” she said.

The process is in the preliminary stages, Shelton said.

“The work has just begun and it’s a team effort,” she said.

Palmetto posts its budgets on its Administration page http://bit.ly/2tr1YAD but has no plans to adopt more sophisticated technology, according to City Administrator William Shell.

Fairburn, too, makes budget information available on its City Administrator page http://bit.ly/2u0537M but is not actively working toward a more robust financial page.

“The government has been very open to our residents about what we do and how we do it,” Mayor Mario Avery said. “As you can imagine, we, like all agencies, can improve our processes.”

The new city of South Fulton has an Open Government page at http://bit.ly/2soiBIp containing budget information but has not put more advanced technology on its agenda.

That includes live streaming of meetings and establishing a social media presence.

“As a new city, these decisions have not yet been made by the mayor and council,” City Clerk Mark Massey said. “It is safe to say that all of these general issues are ‘on our radar.’”

Avery said Fairburn’s council is interested in broadcasting its meetings, but needs to get a permanent city administrator in place first.

Shell said Palmetto, too, does not have the staff in place to handle such an effort.

East Point has live streaming and video archives of meetings; Shelton said further transparency will be up to its communications office to create “a seamless divide” between city and citizens.


By: Noreen Cochran
Published: July 3, 2017
Source: South Metro Neighbor | South Fulton cities have more transparency on tap