Wikis > Solutions-pedia > BUDGET SUNSHINE ONLINE

Due to the economic conditions of the past decade, municipalities have had fewer resources to meet the increasing demands on fundamental services like police and fire, water and sewer, housing and education. Local governments must find new, innovative ways of delivering these indispensable services. A proven approach to inviting innovation in cost-savings is making public data freely available in open, standardized formats. The most effective way of providing this data to the public is to make it available online in accessible, machine-readable formats, which facilitates constructive use of the information. A focus on opening municipal financial data will increase citizen participation, government transparency and efficiency, and can help drive progress on any number of challenges facing local governments including sustainable economic development, insurance coverage cost-saving, and improving public safety and welfare.

How to establish a Budget Sunshine Online Ordinance in your City:

Step 1: LEARN. Watch our Citizen Legislator Lesson and download our Citizen Legislator Participation Guide.

Step 2: PREPARE. Get  ready for your presentation by downloading our Advisory Policy Memo. And make sure to reach out and build support through friends, family, social media, and local media!

Step 3: PRESENT. Download the Model Ordinance and make an official presentation to your local governing body.

Step 4: FOLLOW UP! Officials have a lot on their plates, so it’s up to you to follow-up and make sure your proposal doesn’t get lost in the shuffle! Attend council meetings, email, and call officials if you don’t get an adequate response (but always be respectful!). And if you continue to hit roadblocks? Request a coach from The Citizens Campaign to help you out.

Helpful information:

Take a look at this Letter from Mayor Alex Torpey of South Orange on the importance of this Ordinance in improving government cost-saving and transparency

Visit the Sunlight Foundation website for more information on Open Government

Visit DataUniverse, a portal to public government data