Vowing transparency, Broome launches Baton Rouge budget-tracking site

Sharon Weston Broome

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome launched Open Checkbook BR this morning, a companion website to the Open Data BR portal, which will provide “unprecedented” public access to city-parish spending data.

The Open Checkbook BR website launch marks the final open-data release for 2018 in accord with the city-parish’s open-data policy adopted by Broome and the Metro Council in 2017, according to a press release issued by the Mayor’s Office.

The new website allows the public to easily access and understand city-parish departmental spending down to the “check level,” consistent with open-date standards used nationwide, according to the release.

The site allows users to track how tax dollars are spent, from total spending and transactions across all departments to the top vendors in terms of overall expenditures. Users can also view a summary of vendor-specific spending or individual checks issued to vendors for services.

Open Checkbook BR will be updated on a nightly basis. The data is derived from the city-parish’s new enterprise resource planning system, which recently replaced 20-year-old financial and procurement systems with one centrally integrated system.

“With Open Checkbook BR, we are providing unprecedented levels of insight into how we spend taxpayer dollars to deliver the high-quality services that citizens expect from their city-parish government while setting a standard for how other government agencies across Louisiana and beyond can achieve similar levels of transparency,” Broome says in a statement.

In addition to the new checkbook site, Open Data BR provides access to a range of information from police and traffic incidents, employee salary data to 311 requests for service and property assessments.

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