Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced a newly designed website, www.municipalfinance.ri.gov, for the Division of Municipal Finance. The new online tool is a comprehensive resource for people to research all contracts by municipality; review proposed and passed legislation, which affects cities and towns; find local tax rates and median income; view contact information for officials; and get links to municipal audits, websites and charters.
The website also includes the first comprehensive examination since the 1960s of Rhode Island's fire districts. Based on a survey of the 42 fire districts in which 33 (5 additional fire districts have financial arrangements with neighboring fire districts for fire service protection) support fire stations, fire trucks and equipment, and firefighters, the report raises important considerations that could lead to improved oversight and better financial integrity. To view, "Report on the Rhode Island Fire Districts, Based on Annual Fire District Survey 2013," visit www.municipalfinance.ri.gov and click on the first item under "update."
"By and large, the study reveals that our citizens take their work seriously," Governor Chafee said. "The report is an important first step in gathering information from the fire districts to educate citizens and better understand the delivery of fire protection services. Through this new website, which includes the new data on our fire districts, the Division of Municipal Finance is providing key information and relevant statistics. I commend the Office of Digital Excellence and Division of Information Technology (DoIt) for building an effective and relevant website."
Significant revisions to the prior design and content now showcase several studies that the Division of Municipal Finance produce annually and incorporate a number of interactive tools. Featured reports and data now include the 2013 Municipal Salary Survey, pension and other post-employment benefit obligations, Property Tax Cap and Pensions Valuation publications, Funding Improvement Plans and the 2014 Directory of City and Town Officials.
"I am very excited to launch the new website for the Division of Municipal Finance," Susanne Greschner, Chief of the R.I. Division of Municipal Finance, said. "I believe that, through the improved display of our data, we have a better opportunity to interact with municipalities and all taxpayers in the state."
Information typically difficult to find on the former website is now visible and better serves the user, Thom Guertin, Rhode Island's Chief Digital Officer said. He added, "It was nice to work with the group to gain an understanding of their mission and implement new technologies. I applaud the team and staff from DoIT for creating a user-friendly site, which can be constantly updated to include the latest data and make it easier for municipalities to work with Rhode Island government."
"The redesigned website is a great asset to cities and towns," the R.I. Department of Revenue's Director Rosemary Booth Gallogly said. "The format makes it easier for stakeholders to find information that relates to their city or town, compare it to other municipalities, or look at trends. I hope that people take advantage of this website to assist in their independent research, and use it, among other resources, to make sound data driven decisions."