Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2013, 7:41 pm

New website shines a light on local government

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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

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Photo: Todd Welvaert/twelvaert.qconline.com
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka explains how a state database of local government financial information works during a news conference at Moline City Hall on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. The database is at warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com.
MOLINE -- Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka wants to shine a brighter light on the darkest recesses of the state's 5,200 units of local government.

Speaking in Moline on Monday afternoon, she launched a new website, called The Warehouse, that allows the public easy access to the 9,200 financial reports her office collects annually from municipalities, counties and special taxing districts across Illinois.

The website can be viewed at warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com.

"There is no reason that residents should have to file Freedom of Information requests or sort through mountains of paper to see how their money is being spent," Ms. Topinka said. "That information should be at their fingertips, and that's what The Warehouse accomplishes."

The site is user-friendly, Ms. Topinka said, and has a feature that allows users to compare different units of government.

"Government acts more responsibly when it has more eyes on it," she said.

In 2012, Ms. Topinka successfully backed legislation to require local governments to file annual financial reports electronically. She said 98 percent of local governments in the state are compliant.

The new website builds on a site called The Ledger Ms. Topinka's office launched in 2012 that contains information on local and state government records and salary information for thousands of state workers. Since its launch, Ms. Topinka said the site has received 2.5 million page views and had visitors from every continent except Antarctica.







On the web
warehouse.illinoiscomptroller.com