December 16, 2010
CONTACT: Chris Cate
619-234-6423 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR
619-997-2495 or email@example.com
New Data Center Improves Access to Budget and Financial Documents
Guides on accessing public information included along with wide variety of reports
(San Diego) – In support of its mission to promote accountable, cost-effective and efficient government, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) has established a new online “Data Center” on its website, www.sdcta.org. Included in the SDCTA Data Center are historical budget and audited financial statements, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), pension reports, and other data for over 90 public agencies and municipalities in the San Diego region.
SDCTA’s motivation in building the Data Center is to provide the general public and members of the news media with a central location for the raw data needed to stay informed about decisions made by elected officials. While the data is public record, the time, cost and process involved to access the information can be a barrier for citizens. Since SDCTA has already done the work to obtain the information, it decided to share it with others who might have interest in it for a nominal fee.
In addition, the Data Center includes “how-to” guides with step-by-step advice on how to obtain public information under federal and state laws.
“We hope students, researchers, news media, and concerned citizens who have an interest in government finances will use our site as a resource to assist them in helping further understand the operations and finances of city and local public agencies,” said Chris Cate, Senior Director of Policy & Operations for SDCTA.
“We know all too well it can be challenging to access government data in spite of the California Public Records Act. The Data Center helps provide members of the community with more convenient access. We hope this encourages publication of reports, articles and studies that shed light on information that might otherwise not be revealed to the public,” said Cate.
In order to access the information, users need to obtain a subscription to the Data Center for a small fee to help cover the costs of the program. Subscriptions are available for one month or an entire year. Both offer unlimited access to all Data Center documents for San Diego cities, the County of San Diego, fire districts, water districts, school districts and other public agencies. Fees are discounted for SDCTA members. SDCTA’s goal is to eventually provide the information and updates for free or at a significantly reduced cost by securing a grant or sponsors to cover the costs.
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, dedicated to promoting accountable, cost-effective and efficient government and opposing unnecessary taxes and fees. Founded in 1945, SDCTA has spent the past 65 years saving the region’s taxpayers millions of dollars, as well as generating information to help educate the public.