Ann Arbor City Council Budget Committee (Jan. 19, 2010): Sometime within the next two months, Ann Arbor city councilmembers and Ann Arbor residents – or anyone, for that matter – can expect to start getting access to raw data files of all city financial transactions.
At a meeting of the Ann Arbor city council’s budget committee, the city’s chief financial officer, Tom Crawford, sketched a plan to start making available a wide range of raw data from the city, starting with numbers from the finance department. Crawford said he hopes to have a pilot in place by the end of February.
Budget committee members also discussed what the contents of a monthly statement should be that will now be provided to the committee and to the council as a body – such a report is required by the city’s charter.
The other main point addressed by the budget committee was raised by city administrator Roger Fraser, who suggested to councilmembers that they owed it to the community to put the question of a city income tax before the voters. Fraser said they had a responsibility to float the question, regardless of what their personal feelings were on the issue.
The meeting was also attended by Mayor John Hieftje, who is a member of the city council, but no longer part of the 5-member budget committee – the council reorganized its committee structure at its Dec. 21, 2009 meeting. Hieftje participated in deliberations on the question of when a city income tax ballot question might feasibly go on the ballot.