City of Revere Receives Grant to Develop Open Checkbook System

February 27, 2013

In November of 2012, Mayor Daniel Rizzo joined the Cities of Woburn, Chelsea, Chicopee, and the Town of Brookline to apply for a Community Innovation Challenge Grant (CIC) which would develop a Municipal Open Checkbook System. Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor announced 27 recipients of CIC grants that totaled $1.875 million. The Open Checkbook System was one of the grants that was approved and is being funded in the amount of $120,000. The purpose of the CIC program is to incentivize and support innovative regionalization and other cost saving initiatives.

The 27 recipients of the FY 2013 CIC grant program cover 162 cities and towns. The project recipients reflect geographic and income diversity across the Commonwealth, including several Gateway Cities. The Department of Administration and Finance received 119 applications for the FY 2013 CIC program, which involved 287 communities across Massachusetts. Projects included almost all municipal service delivery areas, including public works, public safety, transportation, veterans services, elder affairs, environmental protection, information technology, and education.

The Municipal Open Checkbook System is being led by the Cites of Woburn, Chelsea, Chicopee, Revere, and Town of Brookline. Up to 20 communities (including the 5 applicants) will have access for 3 years to a hosted Citizen Transparency Module. It is estimated that all 20 communities will be live on the system within 6 months. Each community will have a link on their website that will lead them to a hosted website which will display information consistent with the Massachusetts Open Checkbook System. The data for each community will be securely transmitted weekly to a data center and be stored in data information systems. Data will be processed into data modules and populate data views for citizens to access. All data will be updated weekly. Initial participants will need to be use the MUNIS financial system, which is utilized in over 160 communities in Massachusetts.

“The CIC program has been, and will continue to be, a great program towards creating cost savings for local cities and towns across Massachusetts. I look forward to working with the other cities and towns on the Open Checkbook System, and in developing all available avenues that create more transparency in city government,” commented Mayor Rizzo.

Transparency of financial data to citizens and taxpayers is an important part of accountability for local government. This system will give citizens a detailed view into the spending and requirements of government finance. Transparency helps bring a level of knowledge and trust to constituents. Transparency in government also helps engage citizens and create a collaborative atmosphere.

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