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City to boost financial transparency

City staff will implement a new software program to allow more transparency for the public with city finances.

At Tuesday’s, Aug. 13, City Council meeting, Finance Director Diane Pelletier told council members about Socrata, a software program that will allow residents to have an interactive look at the city’s budget. Pelletier said they will be able to view how much is spent and on what. The information will be updated frequently so residents can get more of a real-time look at the finances.

Pelletier said the program is offered through Tyler Technologies, the city’s financial software provider, and it will interface with the city’s current system.

“They won’t be going into the MUNIS software (city’s financial system) that we’re working with on a daily basis,” she said. “This is a bridge program so our information will go into that template we set up for Boulder City.”

“I think it’s amazing,” said Councilwoman Claudia Bridges.

Bridges said she was glad it would work with the city’s current system.

“It does seem to answer some of the issues of transparency,” she added.

Councilman James Howard Adams said he thought the program was easy to use and understand.

“I think it’s awesome … . I think it will be a great tool once it is up and running,” he said.

Pelletier said the department’s goal is to have the software ready to use by Jan. 1, which is aggressive but possible.

Additionally, she said the finance department would be eliminating other programs that are part of its contract with Tyler.

Councilwoman Tracy Folda questioned whether the increased cost would be covered by savings from eliminating software that was not being used.

Pelletier said it would just about cover it, except for a few thousand dollars.

Councilman Warren Harhay said he was concerned about the security and privacy of the information that would be provided online.

Pelletier said they were working with Tyler to make sure personal information is not shared by accident and to maintain privacy.

The city’s contract with Tyler Technologies will come before the council at its Aug. 27 meeting for renewal.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Council:

n Approved a resolution returning the money for the historic preservation officer position to the general fund.

n Held a public hearing on an appeal for the Planning Commission’s denial of a variance request to permit a gate across a private street, Red Baron Lane. Council continued its determination of the appeal to the Sept. 10 meeting per the request of the owner, Gino Gambino, who is out of the country due to a family emergency.

n Heard the Community Development Department’s annual report.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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