REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – When voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase last year, the Board of Supervisors promised that the public would be able to see how their local tax dollars are spent.
Now San Mateo County has launched online dashboards that give residents the power to track spending and evaluate the performance of County programs and services, starting with those funded by Measure A, the half-cent sales tax that took effect April 1, 2013.
Called SMC Performance, the dashboards site serves as a powerful tool to increase transparency and allow the public to comment. It will evolve to show the performance of all County services toward achieving the goals and priorities of Shared Vision 2025.
“When voters passed Measure A, they trusted us to spend their tax dollars wisely and invest in critical services,” said Supervisor Warren Slocum. “SMC Performance allows residents to take an in-depth look at how the dollars are spent and their effectiveness. SMC Performance holds us accountable.”
Residents can access SMC Performance at https://performance.smcgov.org.
The launch of SMC Performance coincides with the Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday approving more than 20 projects funded by Measure A in the current 2013-14 fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2014. Spending totals approximately $50 million on such projects as:
- Parks and Library capital needs
- Replacement of fire stations and vehicles
- Early childhood learning and summer reading programs
- Child abuse prevention and mental health services
- Bus services for youth, the elderly and disabled
- Support to Seton Medical Center, which cares for low-income patients
SMC Performance features a dashboard with a series of interactive tiles, each containing the goals associated with a specific program or Measure A initiative. By clicking on the title, users can explore performance measures, review raw data, read the actual proposal and, in some cases, look at charts, graphs, and maps created with the data.
SMC Performance serves as a companion to San Mateo’s Open Data Portal, https://data.smcgov.org/, a trove of County-generated statistical data launched in August.
This month the County also unveiled https://data.smcgov.org/checkbook, which lists payments of $5,000 or more issued for goods and services at all County-operated facilities.
“Together, these three online sites represent a giant leap forward in government transparency,” said Supervisor Dave Pine. “We invite all of our residents to take a look at how their dollars are spent and let us know what they think of our performance.” San Mateo County has launched SMC Performance, Open Checkbook and its Open Data Portal in partnership with Socrata Inc., a Seattle-based cloud software company dedicated to democratizing access to government data.
“The dashboards will highlight our culture of performance here in San Mateo County,” said County Manager John Maltbie. “We have outstanding employees and partners who want to make a difference and help the most vulnerable in the community. By using this tool, we can make better decisions based on data and evidence, and use taxpayer dollars on what works to make the biggest impact in the community.”
Shared Vision 2025 reflects the goals and priorities for the San Mateo County community expressed during a series of public meetings and surveys in 2008-09. The “community outcomes” — healthy and safe, livable, prosperous, environmentally conscious and collaborative — provide a foundation for sound decision-making. Focusing on the Shared Vision 2025 goals and priorities places an emphasis on what’s best for all of San Mateo County today and in the years to come.
Supervisor Warren Slocum: 650-363-4570 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Supervisor Dave Pine: 650-814-3103 or email@example.com
Communications Director Marshall Wilson: 650-363-4153 or firstname.lastname@example.org