California Forward and California Special Districts Association launch new transparency portal
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today California Forward (CA Fwd) and the California Special Districts Association (CSDA) have launched a first-of-its-kind portal providing data and information on more than 1,100 California special districts. The new tool located on CA Fwd’s Transparency Portal (http://transparency.cafwd.org/portal/) allows the general public to search and view background information and financial data on special districts throughout the state. The portal features individual district pages with additional information on its local services and history, and also includes a direct link to CSDA’s “Putting Special Districts on the Map” project.
“Local governments in California have a growing role in how our state functions and delivers essential services. They are also under increasing scrutiny,” said Jim Mayer, president and CEO of CA Fwd. “We have developed the Transparency Portal as a unique bridge between these agencies and the public, one that makes it easier for citizens to find key information, and one that offers the agencies themselves a platform to inform their constituents of the unique challenges they face, and communicate the solutions.”
Based on annual reports submitted to the State Controller, the Special Districts Portal pulls critical data points on revenue, expenses and reserves for the last three years and incorporates them into an easy-to-read chart. The individual pages are bolstered by glossaries and additional material on the activities, structures and financing of 21 different kinds of special districts, from airport and hospital regions to flood control and library services.
Districts also have the opportunity to submit additional data to maximize the information provided on the portal, which is operated by CA Fwd. This includes varying information from capital outlays to other factors that may have influenced district finances in a given year. Special districts may also add links to other reporting and transparency tools already being used.
“We are extremely proud of the partnership with California Forward, and for the bright future of this project,” said Neil McCormick, executive director of CSDA. “Our districts are raising the bar for transparency on multiple fronts, and this portal is an opportunity to both highlight that work, as well as broaden the awareness – and understanding – of the service our districts provide, and the resources involved in that service delivery.”
The project is supported by an Advisory Group composed of special district executives, financial officers and other public budgeting experts. It was developed to serve as a building block for a resource that will ultimately integrate compensation data and other information on the functioning of the state’s myriad special districts.
The portal is now live at (http://transparency.cafwd.org/portal/).
ABOUT CALIFORNIA FORWARD
California Forward is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization, devoted to improving the performance of government in California. It believes that increased emphasis on accountability and transparency will create government that Californians deserve and expect. (www.cafwd.org)
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA SPECIAL DISTRICTS ASSOCIATION
The California Special Districts Association (CSDA) is a 501c(6), not-for-profit association that was formed in 1969 to promote good governance and improved core local services through professional development, advocacy, and other services for all types of independent special districts. For more information, please visit (www.csda.net)