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Budget Transparency

Tarsi Dunlop

The village of South Orange, NJ, under leadership of village President Alex Torpey, has made the town budget accessible to the general public, along with a spreadsheet that allows citizens to manipulate columns and understand where their money is going. This is a tremendous step towards open governance; more towns should consider doing this.

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  • Tarsi Dunlop

    I do think that this is an important part of citizen engagement. And I hope that other cities consider it. I think that scaling this idea is something that could be relatively feasible if the right folks pushed it and there was a demonstrated interest in its existence as a tool for folks to use to understand budgeting etc. I'm planning on doing a couple of blogs on it in the next six weeks or so, as just one example of trying to raise awareness.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Looking forward to it. You're right- I think understanding budget is complicated- and perhaps teaching the community the whys of budgeting would help.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    This is incredible and I'm surprised that this technology is actually functioning and working for the community. It seems like their developers should work for!

    • Tarsi Dunlop

      Isn't it cool? Granted, South Orange is not a big city, but I found out about the budget when Alex talked about it at a conference and I just, found it really inspiring that when citizens had an issue with 'waste' and taxes, they could go see where money was raised and spent...and what it funded. It's really bringing the concept of local governance and openness to a whole new level!

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        I hope other cities develop something like this. Perhaps it would help get citizens more involved in their city governments? Wondering how they can publicize this more...