Web Site Sheds Further Light on Local Government Spending


Keeping track of townships and local government spending is a complicated, but necessary measure. That should now be a little easier thanks to some efforts of the Indiana Dept. of Local Government Finance and their new web site. The Tribune (Seymour) has the story via Indiana Economic Digest:

Hoosiers now have an opportunity to take a deeper look at how local governing units collect and spend their money thanks to a new website recently unveiled by the state.

And Jackson County seems to be faring better that (sic) a lot of Indiana counties, a local official says.

“We look really good,” county Councilman Brian Thompson told his fellow council members during their recent meeting at the courthouse annex.

Thompson was basing that assessment on information located on the web at https://gateway.ifionline.org/

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance unveiled the website developed in cooperation with the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in mid-November.

According to a press release from the DLGF, the website is the second phase of a new online data collection system and public access website that “substantially increases the transparency and accessibility of local government finance” for Hoosiers.

The first phase of the system, known as the Indiana Gateway for Government Units or Gateway for short, allowed local officials to submit 2012 budget forms electronically from July 1 to Nov. 3.

As part of the second phase, those budget figures are now incorporated into the interactive research website. Visitors to the site can compare against other units and analyze per capita revenues and spending.

The public site allows taxpayers to access relevant data by property address, view up-to-the-minute budget summary information and download customizable reports.

“Once Gateway is fully implemented, with a few mouse clicks, citizens can obtain local government budgets, property tax information, debt tallies, and spending reports,” Department Commissioner Brian Bailey said.

Local officials also will use Gateway to submit annual reports to the state Board of Accounts, allowing users to tie budget information to expenditure information easily for the first time.

They also will report debt information through Gateway, providing taxpayers with information about borrowing costs and overall indebtedness. This data, which local officials must submit by March 1, will be made available through the public access website this spring.

“By linking local government finance to the other data hosted on Stats Indiana, policy makers and businesses will have information at their fingertips to help them make fiscal decisions in the context of their overall community, or communities they may consider joining,” IBRC Deputy Director and Chief Information Officer Carol Rogers said.

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