Mayor Turner Launches City of Houston Open Finance Initiative Tied to Financial Transparency

March 7, 2023 ~ The City of Houston is taking steps to increase financial transparency and engage citizens through the use of technology. On March 7, 2023, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the start of the third and final phase of the Open Finance initiative, Open Checkbook.

Open Checkbook provides Houstonians access to detailed expenditure-level payment data to vendors and other recipients. The Open Finance initiative was created in April 2021 with the goal of providing more transparency about the City's finances. This includes publishing relevant datasets about the City's budget, checkbook, and payroll as well as simple data visualizations to help the public explore the City's financial activities.

Mayor Turner believes that increased transparency through open data initiatives enhances collaboration between residents and their elected leaders. "Open Finance allows citizens to stay informed and gain access to the same information stakeholders and government leaders use to make decisions in the day-to-day operations of local government," he said. "This initiative is another significant step toward improving public engagement and building awareness of the City's financial activities."

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The objectives of Open Finance are to achieve a high standard of financial transparency by providing metrics, interactive visualizations, and downloadable data for Open Budget, Open Checkbook, and Open Payroll to the public; as well as publishing information that is accurate, compliant, sustainable, consolidated. The initiative includes three phases: Open Budget (July 2022), which provides revenue and expenditure data depicted as both budget and actual; Open Payroll (November 2022), which will provide employee payroll data that can be filtered by payment period, department, function, and other dimensions; and finally Open Checkbook (March 2023), which will provide detailed expenditure-level payment information and expenses remitted to various vendors and payment recipients.

The City of Houston's Finance department is accepting feedback/questions at their location or via email or phone call. The Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department can also be contacted for further information on this initiative.

Filed Under: Government, City

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