In the future, Greenwood residents would be able to find out where cars and homes have been broken into, apply for building permits online and easily look up data on how their tax dollars are spent.
That is the goal of Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers, after joining Indianapolis, Zionsville and Fishers in a project to compile data on one website. The project is part of a federal initiative to make more public information and data available online. The group will work together on open data policies and share ideas. They also are working to get more communities involved, according to a news release.
Myers said he wanted to get involved because potential businesses will look at the type of information other communities will be sharing, such as crime data and tax information, and he wants Greenwood to be a part of that effort. Through the city’s data, those potential employers can see how Greenwood’s crime rate and budget, for example, compare with other central Indiana communities.
“The big picture is we need to think regionally,” he said. “As businesses look to where they want to go, they want to know what is going on in the entire region.”
Initially, the city will focus on its financial information, including how much is budgeted for city employees and services, the balances in city funds and where money is spent.
Greenwood’s website already has that information, but Myers wants to make it easier for people to access by putting it on one website, along with information from the other central Indiana communities.
“We want total transparency within the city’s budget and our finances,” Myers said.
But he wants more information to be available online in the future.
The next focus is to get the forms and information online to allow for someone to apply and pay for building permits, he said.
And after that, he said, he would like to make available more information about police runs, which also is the focus of the city of Indianapolis. He has started talking with local police officials about what they would need to do to get that information online, he said.
Myers said he wants people to know if a certain area of the city or neighborhood has had a string of vehicle or home break-ins. That way, people can take precautions in those areas, he said.
Now, the city will need to work to compile and upload that data. Once that is done, the group of central Indiana communities can get the information added to its website, he said.
He said he isn’t sure how long the city will need to get that information online yet and is talking with other city officials about the process and a potential timeline.
“The more information we can get out, the better informed the public is, the happier they are,” Myers said.
Want to see what information you can find out about central Indiana communities online?
You can also find information about the city of Greenwood’s finances on the city’s website at greenwood.in.gov.