Almanac

News - September 25, 2013

County spending details now online

San Mateo County government has announced Open Checkbook, a web program that provides the public with a simplified look at spending by county agencies and tracked with the ongoing fiscal year, which begins every July 1.

The list of 52 agencies includes the Sheriff's Office ($11,561,845), the Board of Supervisors ($215,094) and the Coroner's Office ($158,525), and a list of 475 vendors to whom checks have been paid.

The program lists 156 types of expenditures, which include spending dairy products ($10,095), guns and ammunition ($13,415) and laundry services ($24,895).

"We are excited to provide this important step in open government to County citizens," Controller Bob Adler says in a news release. The program covers almost 94 percent of non-payroll county spending but excludes confidential payments such as those involving victims of domestic violence, Mr. Adler says.

Go to data.smcgov.org/checkbook to start exploring. The data can be sorted in several ways, and includes key-word and vendor-name search functions.

The cloud software behind the program is by Seattle-based Socrata Inc., which also has contracts with New York City, Chicago and San Francisco, the World Bank and Medicare, the county says.

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