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September - 2009 Edition: Some information may be out of date.

City Expenses Online: Open Book

Have you ever wondered how much the City spends on vehicles? Cell phones? Supplies? Now that information is available at the click of a button! Introducing Open Book, a new, easily-accessible and searchable online tool that provides detailed information about how the City spends money.

What is Open Book?

Open Book is an online spending transparency database that allows you to access all City spending records according to specific search terms. You can find it at

Why create this tool?

The City of Fort Collins is committed to being an open, data-driven organization. We believe that local government should be accountable for our spending down to the very last penny. The City of Fort Collins is among the first in the nation to offer this level of transparency and this level of accessibility.

What type of information can I access?

Open Book includes data from the City of Fort Collins, Poudre Fire Authority, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Poudre River Public Library District. It includes all expenditures, except for information restricted by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or other confidential information. It includes expenses paid directly to vendors as well as those made with a City credit card.

Is salary information be included?

Yes. City employee earnings are listed by position title and department. Information is based on the previous year and includes salaries, overtime, bonuses and other one-time earnings.

How detailed is the information?

You can search expenses by department, by expense type, by date, or by vendor. However, Open Book doesnt always clearly define what specific program or service those expenses support. For example, you might find a $200 expense for a restaurant; you can see the date and department, but what you might not see is that the $200 was used to cater dinner for a public event. Because the information in Open Book is automatically pulled from our purchasing records, it provides great detail on the individual expense but it might not provide context for the purchase.

What if I have questions?

Simply click on the "Questions/comments" link and fill out the online forms; well provide you with a complete response within two weeks.

Is the information current?

Data is available for expenses made Jan. 1, 2009 through the present; the database is updated 15 days after the end of each month with the previous months data. Open Book will ultimately display two years worth of data.