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What you need to know for 07/21/2017

Schenectady to share data on website set up by state

Schenectady to share data on website set up by state

Schenectady has joined dozens of other municipalities in committing to a new “open government” websi

Schenectady has joined dozens of other municipalities in committing to a new “open government” website run by the state.

Governmental agencies are supposed to post data — charts, spreadsheets and more — on the site so that the public can quickly and easily see them.

But don’t expect much data from Schenectady anytime soon.

“Some of our records are still manual,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said.

He’s hoping for a grant to put code enforcement records in electronic format. Some of those would be posted on the state site. But the real purpose would be to link those records to the electronic police and fire records.

“My focus has been getting the code operation automated,” McCarthy said. “Make some of it public and integrate with police and fire for our enforcement efforts.”

But he envisioned putting other data on the site, including the assessment data that are already public.

The city could also upload figures showing how many police and fire calls the city gets each year, he said.

That could give the public “a better appreciation of what we’re doing,” he said. “Public safety is so expensive. People [should] know how many police calls we’re doing, fire calls we’re doing.”

Albany is the only city to upload data so far. It has uploaded a list of vacant buildings, by address, and a list of every building permit issued since 2009. The permits spreadsheet shows the work performed on each permit, the address, the contractor hired and the cost of the work.

The city also uploaded budget documents, including its five-year capital plan, its 2013 budget summary, and its 2013 expected revenues.

More than 69 municipalities and counties have signed up to upload data, although only five have uploaded their data so far.

The state Office of Information Technology Services is working with governments to help them post their data.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the site a new way to make government transparent.

“With the launch of open.ny.gov, New York State has taken another step toward greater transparency in government,” Cuomo said in a statement. “In addition to reducing costs and housing data for localities, this website helps connect government on all levels with the people it serves.

The state has uploaded more than 6,000 datasets, from maps of average daily traffic counts to a list of all active liquor licenses.

The site is free to the public.

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