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Providence Launches ‘Open Meetings Portal’

The City of Providence [on Wednesday] launched its Open Meetings Portal – a single, public access point for public meeting information.

The site fulfills a recommendation of a special commission established to find ways the City can use technology to engage residents, and is the result of several months of collaboration between the City Clerk, City Council, and the administration of Mayor Angel Taveras.

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Providence launches Open Data Portal

open-data-screen

The City of Providence today launched the state’s first municipal Open Data Portal.

The portal, a key recommendation of the 15-member Open Providence Commission enables the public to access and export municipal data sets.

At launch, the Portal is populated with 25 data sets including: salaries and pension payrolls, the CIty budget, roads projects (including the Road Bond), vacant property, PEMA emergency information, union contracts, tree inventory, zoning maps, flood maps, and property assessments. The City plans to populate the Portal with more data sets over time.

The Portal provides this data in searchable and exportable formats, allowing for mapping of data, creation of apps to read data, and merging of different data sets into tables and maps. The portal also allows users to embed data on their own webpages with that embedded data updating as the City adds to it.

By creating a free account with Socrata on the Open Data Portal, users can save visualizations they’ve created and also compare Providence data to other cities’ data in the Socrata system. The system allows the City to upload historical data and future forecasts for comparison as well.

The Portal was created after viewing similar programs in other cities including Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore. An RFP for the the portal was issued last November and awarded to Socrata. The Portal costs the City $30k per year to maintain.

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Providence 2013 State of the City Address


Mayor Angel Taveras

2013 State of the City Address

Providence Is Recovering

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 • (as prepared for delivery)

Photo of the Mayor delivering the State of the City from the Mayor's Office.

Photo of the Mayor delivering the State of the City from the Mayor’s Office.

Governor, Mr. President, honorable members of the Providence City Council, distinguished guests, and my fellow residents of our great Capital City –

One year ago I stood before you in this Chamber with an urgent message for our City and the entire State of Rhode Island. Providence was in peril. Despite many difficult decisions and painful sacrifices made to pull Providence back from the brink, we were still $22 million short of closing a $110 million structural deficit.

Crucial steps necessary to navigate our City safely through our Category 5 fiscal hurricane had not yet come to pass. We still needed to reform our unsustainable pensions. And we needed Providence’s large, tax-exempt institutions to contribute more.

As I stood before you on February 13, 2012, Providence was running out of cash, and running out of time. In the months that followed, there were some who said Providence could not avoid filing for bankruptcy.

BACK FROM THE BRINK

Today it is my privilege to deliver a much more hopeful report on the State of our City: Providence is recovering.

Through collaborative efforts and shared sacrifice, we have all but eliminated our City’s $110 million structural deficit, and we expect to end this year with a balanced budget. Working together, we have accomplished what few believed possible.

We were determined to address the root causes of Providence’s fiscal emergency and prepared to act unilaterally if necessary. And we knew our City would never achieve a lasting recovery without addressing our unsustainable and spiraling pension costs.

In April, following months of actuarial analysis and public testimony, this City Council unanimously approved a pension reform ordinance that put Providence’s pension system on a sustainable path.

We recognized that passing the ordinance would likely lead to a high-stakes lawsuit with no real winners – because a decision in favor of the status quo would push our City over the brink. However, faced with the challenge of negotiating pension changes with more than 2,000 retirees who were not represented by a single entity, we saw no alternative.

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Open Providence Commission for Transparency and Accountability Meeting – Today, March 19, 2012

The Open Providence Commission for Transparency and Accountability is a new commission set up by the Taveras Administration to, well, to do what the name says. The Legislation enabling the Commission is at the bottom of this post.

Their first meeting is today (sorry to say I received notice of this on Friday, but am just getting around to posting). Today’s meeting being their first, it will consist mostly of organizing and the Commissioners getting to know each other. It is open to the public but there won’t be a public comment period on this meeting. I hope to get notice of their future meetings posted in a more timely fashion.


Agenda:

Open Providence Commission for Transparency and Accountability

March 19, 2012 – 5:30pm
The Conference Room, Third Floor, City Hall, 25 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI 02903

  1. Welcome and overview of City Council Resolution creating commission from John Marion, Chairman.
  2. Election of Vice Chairperson
  3. Discussion relative to upcoming meetings and schedule.

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