|The City of Houston is enhancing the use of technology to engage citizens and increase financial transparency.
Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the city is launching an open finance initiative to allow Houstonians to track how their money is being spent.
In April 2021, the City of Houston created the Open Finance initiative to provide more transparency about the City’s finances. This includes publishing relevant, accessible datasets about the City’s budget, checkbook, and payroll. It also provides simple data visualizations to help the public explore the City’s financial activities.
Localities can benefit from data that helps measure policy efforts, increase government operational and processes efficiency, provide deeper analytical insights and increase citizen participation. Increased transparency through open data initiatives enhances the collaboration between residents and their elected leaders. These efforts empower residents to get involved and understand the City’s financial activities.
“Open Finance allows citizen advocates 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,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “This initiative is another significant step toward improving public engagement and building awareness of the City’s financial activities.”
The objectives of Open Finance (https://openfinance.houstontx.gov) 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.
- Publish information that is accurate, compliant, sustainable, consolidated
Open Finance initiative includes three phases:
- Open Budget (July 2022) dataset is structured by two different aspects: revenue and expenditure data depicted as both budget and actual.
- Open Payroll (Est. October 2022) will provide employee payroll data that can be filtered by payment period, department, function and other dimensions
- Open Checkbook (Est. January 2023) will detail expenditure-level payment information; detailing expenses remitted to various vendors and/or payment recipients
The City of Houston Finance department is accepting feedback/questions at the following location.
611 Walker, 10th Floor
Houston, TX 77002