Schnirman opens up county checkbook to public

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Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman launched the Nassau County Open Checkbook for a more transparent view of county finances. (Photo courtesy of Nassau County)

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman launched an online checkbook on Wednesday that provides an inside look at county finances for anyone with access to the internet.

Nassau County Open Checkbook is a part of Schnirman’s campaign promise to open and modernize county finances, one of the four key goals he set for his term as comptroller.

“Opening up and modernizing the County’s finances is key to a government that uses data to find efficiencies to ask and answer questions,” Schnirman said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve invited residents, students, reporters, and researchers to join us in looking at this data for opportunities to improve.”

According to the release, the web platform will be updated monthly and is expected to include payroll data later in the year.

Currently, the checkbook provides county spending data for outside vendors, contractors, and intergovernmental programs dating back to 2016.

Viewers can search by county department, vendor, or expense and automatically generated charts outline the changes in spending over the period of time that data is available on the site.

According to the new website, the department that received the most county funds in 2018 was the Department of Public Works with $538.65 million. The county’s highest expense was contractual services in 2018 with a total of $349.39 million. Social Service Recipients was the top paid county vendor in 2018, receiving $151.54 million in county funds.

“Never before have Nassau County residents been able to simply type in a vendor name or a department and see how their money is being spent in such an easy-to-understand way,” Schnirman said. “But this is just the first step. There is a lot more data for us to put online and a lot more work that can be done in studying how effective and efficient government is operating.”

The cloud-based web platform was created with the technology and support of Tyler Technologies through its Socrata Open Expenditures program.

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