Do you want to know where and how your tax dollar are being spent in East Baton Rouge parish? It just got easier.
Mayor-President Kip Holden announced the launch of “Open Budget BR” today, a website that breaks down city-parish spending and allows people to drill down into department, program, construction and service spending and funding.
The announcement follows the release of “Open Data BR” another city-parish website that offers a look at various aspects of government including employee salaries, parish demographics and crime statistics.
“Through easy-to-read charts and graphs, a searchable database and a clear path to track sources and uses of public funds, Open Budget BR offers a unique perspective into our local government budget that has never been seen before” Holden said in a statement.
“The tool will serve as a benchmark for financial transparency into our local government operations for years to come.”
The website starts with two sections to choose from: the operating budget, and the capital budget. The operating budget, $723 million in 2015, explores departments, wages, and services like police, fire and EMS that are supported by the city-parish budget directly. The capital budget, $4.02 billion, outlines construction project appropriations over the past 20 years and includes programs like the Green Light Plan for roads and the Sanitary Sewer Overflow program.
Drilling down into department expenditures is user-friendly. For example, clicking the operating budget will generate a graph that shows public safety is the highest expense in the budget at $213 million. Clicking public safety breaks down the various budgets under that umbrella: police, fire, EMS, coroner, etc.
Keep clicking through and you can find even more detail about the individual departments. The police budget will show you everything from total salary expenditures, to money spent on overtime ($475,650) to police clothing allowances ($21,200).