How transparent is Atlanta’s city government when it comes to spending? Not very, according to a report released by a consumer advocacy group today.
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The Georgia Public Interest Research Group gave Atlanta a failing grade for not making detailed information easily accessible about how the city spends tax dollars.
Laura Murray, an advocate with Georgia PIRG, credits Atlanta for posting the city’s budget and financial reports online. But Murray says that’s not detailed enough.
“There’s not this checkbook level of spending that’s becoming the standard in America’s largest cities,” Murray said.
If Atlanta used a “checkbook” approach, Murray says anyone would be able to go the city’s website to see each of the city’s financial transactions, contracts and vendors.
“Without this checkbook level, we’re kind of in the dark about which companies or even non-profits are receiving our taxpayer dollars,” Murray said.
Mayor Kasim Reed’s spokesperson, Sonji Jacobs Dade, agrees.
“Under the Reed administration; we’ve been working very hard to create more transparency for Atlanta residents,” Dade said.
For example, Dade pointed to the city of Atlanta’s website. She said it was re-launched last year partly to make information more accessible. She says efforts to make city spending more transparent are ongoing.