Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the City of Atlanta have unveiled the City’s new “Open Checkbook,” an online financial portal that allows the public to see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent.
The City of Atlanta joins a list of prominent municipalities, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Birmingham and Washington, D.C., that have used similar portals to expand transparency and openness to the public.
“My vision for One Atlanta includes an ethical, transparent and fiscally responsible government,” Bottoms said, flanked by a number of City Hall officials and City Councilmembers. “Today’s launch of Atlanta’s Open Checkbook provides residents with a powerful accountability tool and will shine a bright light on City spending as we work to reestablish public trust in government.”
A first for the City, “Open Checkbook” is the Bottoms administration’s latest initiative to set a new standard for government transparency, Bottoms confirmed in a conference on Tuesday morning at City Hall.
Further, it is just one of the ways Bottoms said she will deliver on her ‘One Atlanta’ vision that includes an ethical, transparent and fiscally responsible government.
After formally thanking a number of her staff and City Councilmember Marcia Overstreet — who sponsored the legislation that made “Open Checkbook” possible, the mayor revealed that citizens will now have access to “public records over the last two years—fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018—totaling approximately $2.1 billion worth of public spending that will be available for review online.”
The records are accessible on various devices, including desktop computers, laptops and smartphones, Bottoms said.
“This is a significant day in the life of the City of Atlanta,” she said. “We’ve received so many questions about our spending. So rather than waiting on the public, or the media to ask, we’re making it available to you.”
“I sincerely hope that with ‘Open Checkbook,’ the public will be reminded of our administration’s commitment to transparency,” Bottoms added.
Using “Open Checkbook,” users can explore and track the City’s financial expenditures. Charts, graphs and checkbook-style transactions are readily available. This new online platform is user- and browser-friendly, as well as completely accessible via mobile devices.
Bottoms first discussed the new technology back in April, explaining that “Open Checkbook” would make it easier for the public to access City budgets, expenditures and contracts with vendors. Additionally, it enables the public to easily search, follow, and analyze the business of the City.