Mayor Lyda Krewson of the city of St. Louis, MO recently ordered the creation of a financial transparency portal to show the city’s decision-making processes and how it is spending money to improve public health during the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 Financial Transparency Dashboard provides data and charts on expenditures by vendors, expenditures by date, and expenditures by type – offering residents a summary of how much the city has spent on personal protective equipment for medical professionals, and vendors from which it is purchasing other equipment.
The city has spent more than $2.2 million US on equipment as of April 12th of this year, with about half attributed to purchasing 22,000 KN95 masks. The information does not currently include any overtime incurred among employees in key city departments that have been instrumental in protecting the public’s health and safety. The portal also contains contract details between the city and five different shelters and hotels that have been designated as COVID-relief areas for homeless people.
“Even during a global emergency such as COVID-19, governments must remain accountable to the people,” Krewson said in a press release. “That includes showing them how we’re investing in critical, life-saving resources. I appreciate the multiple City departments that worked together to activate this portal in a timely, accessible manner.”
In addition to the coronavirus-spending portal, St. Louis also has an online dashboard that’s meant to track the spread of the coronavirus by zip code.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” Krewson said of making the financial information available to the public. “Everyone wants to know what government is spending government money on and we just want to make sure we make it available to people.”