The 2015 Austin City Council from left: Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, Councilman Sabino Renteria, Councilman Don Zimmerman, Councilwoman Delia Garza, Councilwoman Ann Kitchen, Mayor Steve Adler, Councilwoman Leslie Pool, Councilwoman Ora Houston, Councilman Gregorio Casar, Councilwoman Sheri Gallo and Councilwoman Ellen Troxclair[/caption]
An online searchable database of Austin City Council candidates' campaign finances may be available by the next city election in 2016.
A proposal to develop such a program passed council unanimously June 25 with District 1 Council Member Ora Houston off the dais. District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool led the effort to develop a system that would cost the city less money.
"This is a first step in a process to be able to shine some more light and provide additional transparency and accountability in campaign finance disclosure," Pool said.
Candidates for council must currently turn in electronic records of campaign finance disclosures in person to the city clerk's office. Some council members indicated a desire for being able to file electronically, possibly through email, in the future.
The system will resemble an excel spreadsheet and be downloadable and searchable for those interested, Pool said. She said creating and maintaing the electronic records will cost about $8,000, which is much lower than the cost of using the type of system the Texas Legislature uses.
According to the resolution, data will be sortable based on contributions, expenditures and more.
City staff was directed to bring the new ordinance to Austin City Council for a vote during its August 3 meeting and have the system tested and functioning by Feb. 1, 2016.