Georgetown partners with online transparency program

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was in Georgetown on Thursday to sign the town’s second Community Compact with the governor’s office. The town has received a $10,000 grant to fund an online budget transparency program. Pictured, from left, are Selectman Gary Fowler, Polito, Rep. Lenny Mirra, Selectman Joseph Bonavita and Town Administrator Michael Farrell. Sen. Bruce Tarr is out of view.BRYAN EATON/Staff photo

GEORGETOWN — Residents can keep close track of how their tax dollars are spent thanks to the town’s work with an online transparency program. 

The town has partnered with Maynard-based ClearGov, whose online platform provides residents with easily understood graphics that detail town finances as well as Georgetown’s demographics. 

ClearGov provides similar information on its website for all Massachusetts communities and those in every U.S. state except Hawaii and Alaska.

Georgetown is now one of a growing number of communities that pay for an annual subscription with the service, allowing town officials to provide up-to-date financial and budgetary information to residents as soon as it is available.

To deploy this open checkbook and budget transparency program, the town has received a $10,000 grant through Gov. Charlie Baker’s office.

On Thursday afternoon, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visited Town Hall to sign the agreement under the state’s Community Compact program.

She was accompanied by local and state officials, including Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and state Rep. Lenny Mirra, R- West Newbury, who highlighted the program’s goal of improving communication between state and local officials.

“Community Compact reflects to me what a lot of constituents have always asked for, a lot of efficiency and cooperation among various levels of government,” Mirra said. “It improves the communication between state and local government, and works on best practices that we can all adopt.” 

ClearGov offers a demographic snapshot of Georgetown, including its population, median home value and median household income. The site also gives a breakdown of the town’s expenses and revenue for each of the last several fiscal years through fiscal 2017, as well as its debt.

To see ClearGov’s Georgetown page, visit www.cleargov.com/massachusetts/essex/town/georgetown.

ClearGov’s information on other Massachusetts communities can be seen at https://www.cleargov.com/massachusetts, although not all data is up to date. 

Staff writer Jack Shea can be reached via email at jshea@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.