Davenport is among the first cities in Iowa to put a virtual checkbook online that’s now accessible to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Brandon Wright, the city’s finance director, says they’ve started using new software this week that makes it possible to look up details about the hundreds of checks written by the city each week on the annual budget of nearly $80 million.
“For example, if you’re interested in a particular vendor, if you’re thinking, ‘I want to see how much the city spends at Menards,’ you can click in Menards and it will then bring up everywhere the city has spent money at Menards,” Wright says. “You can see it by departments as well, you can see Public Works versus the Finance Department, and you can see that level of detail.”
Wright says city payroll information is also accessible, by job title or by the employee’s name and by regular pay versus overtime. He says city staff wanted to make this information available for years, but until now, they couldn’t find software that would be user-friendly and that wouldn’t require vast amounts of staff time to prepare.
“What we’re hoping it really does is provide greater trust between our citizens and the city,” Wright says. “We want them to understand what we’re spending money on. If they have questions, we welcome their questions. We want them to come and ask them.”
The so-called “open checkbook application” soon will be accessible directly from the city’s website and is currently available at the website: “citycheckbook.davenporttoday.com“