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Montgomery County leaders are unveiling a new website they say will make the inner workings of county government more accessible to residents.
The website is called openMontgomery, and can be accessed at MontgomeryCountyMD.gov/Open. It breaks down into four portals, according to county executive Isiah Leggett: accessMontgomery, dataMontgomery, engageMontgomery and mobileMontgomery.
The engage portal will allow residents to share ideas with county leaders, while the mobile portal will show all the mobile county websites available to smart phone users.
It's the access and data portals that could get the most use. Councilman Hans Riemer says both will provide access to a wide variety of county spending information.
"Residents are always interested to know how much do county employees earn? How are we spending our money? What are our priorities?" Riemer says. "Our budget is really a statement of our values. You will now be able to go to this website and view all of the budget information for every agency in county government."
Riemer is quick to point out that while the website is new, the right to access this information has always been protected by state law.
"We don't establish any additional rights because that right is absolute," Riemer says. "But rather than having to request information, we are trying to proactively publish such information."
The speed with which certain information gets posted to the website, like audits and spending disclosures, will vary according the county's chief information officer because of the need to review at the information before it's released.