Access to information is necessary for effective discourse and accountable decision making by governments on the state, regional, and local levels. To guide important local decisions, stakeholders -- including residents and businesses -- need access to information about our region. However, existing public data may not always provide sufficient context for stakeholders to interpret or analyze the information. In addition, while data and analysis on state and local government appropriations and spending are crucial for understanding investments made in the region, such information is often not made available during budget approval processes.
Technology provides the best path to disseminate relevant data and information about the region and its communities to officials, community members, and other stakeholders. Improvements to technology can promote the use of best practices in transparency and help data management evolve. When scoping transparency efforts, it is important to consider who will actually use publicly accessible data and how users will use it.
Technology improvements will enhance local governments’ ability to increase their capacity and achieve their goals. The return on investment for adopting new technology will vary across the region, particularly in areas with lower capacity to utilize it, but could introduce opportunities for consolidating or sharing services.
The following describes strategies and associated actions to implement this recommendation.