In September, I asked, “Why can’t we post the Town’s checkbook online?” Later that month, I posted the Town’s July 2015 checkbook entries on Open Stratford. Today, I am posting Stratford’s disbursements for all of 2015. Here they are:
- GL Account Detail – Jan 2015 – Jan 2016
- Paid Warrant Report – Jan – June 2015
- Paid Warrant Report – Jul 2015 – Jan 2016
Some criticize this site because they think this information should be provided by the Town directly. I don’t agree with the criticism, but I agree the Town should be posting this information on its own. In fact, the Mayor promised to do just that back in October 2010. More than five years later, that promise remains unfulfilled. Here’s what I had to say about it in September.
In October 2010, Mayor John Harkins promised that he would join the other communities that post their disbursements online and he did so very publicly in a press release that you can read here, but if you don’t want to download the file, here’s the important part of what the Mayor had to say:
“All town expenditures are legally considered to be public information obtainable through a Freedom of Information request,” said Mayor Harkins. “However, I see no reason for the Town not to be proactive in releasing this information as a means of increasing transparency and building trust with the taxpayers. At my direction, a complete list of disbursements made by the town will be posted each month on the Town of Stratford website, www.townofstratford.com. Residents will be able view how their tax dollars are spent, ask questions and provide suggestions to my office and their town councilperson and most importantly, rest assured that this administration welcomes public scrutiny.”
Those records were not posted online in the nearly five years since John Harkins issued that release, so during the public forum before the last Town Council meeting, I asked that the Town Council do something about it and pass an ordinance or resolution to require the Town to finally fulfill the Mayor’s promise. I also said that I would ask for the records and post them on this website if the Town didn’t post them on its own.
On Monday, I plan to file a draft ordinance that, if passed, will require John Harkins to finally fulfill his promise to post the Town’s disbursements online. If there is one thing the past five years has taught us, it is that this administration deserves the public scrutiny that the Mayor says he welcomes.