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City of Dubuque Launches Open Expenses Transparency Tool

Monday February 08, 2016 10:56am

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The City of Dubuque is committed to transparency and accountability in all its operations, especially when it comes to how city funds are spent.  Public access to this information was greatly enhanced this week with the City’s launch of an “Open Expenses” application.

The Open Expenses site, which can be accessed at http://expenses.cityofdubuque.org, provides a guided view of the City’s expenses, allowing visitors to browse payments from a high-level summary to a detailed view. Information can be viewed and queried by department, vendor, or expense category.  The Open Expenses application provides an opportunity for the public to explore and visually interact with Dubuque’s operating and capital expenditures. The application currently features data from the 2012 fiscal year through the current fiscal year (2016) and can display the exportable data in charts and graphs.

“This new tool gives our residents and stakeholders direct access to all City expenditures,” said City of Dubuque Finance Director Jean Nachtman.  “Open Expenses is updated weekly so it is very current information but it also offers year-to-year comparisons. People who access the site can take an organization-wide look at costs or ‘dig down’ to the departmental or activity level.”

The Open Expenses tool compliments “Open Budget,” an online tool launched by the City in October 2015 that provides unprecedented access to city budget information and is designed to help “make sense of the dollars and cents” of city government budgeting.

The Open Expenses and Open Budget applications support the City of Dubuque’s five-year organizational goal of “a financially responsible city government and high-performance organization” and allows users with and without financial and accounting data experience to better understand expenditures in these categories. The goal is to provide data in a user-friendly way via charts, graphs, and images that are easy to understand.

The applications were purchased through Socrata, a privately-held cloud software company headquartered in Seattle.