Homewood lawmaker wants online database of government properties - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Homewood lawmaker wants online database of government properties

Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online

Who's leasing an office building to the state? How many buildings does the state own in Jefferson County that are sitting empty right now?

If you wanted to sit down in your PJs at your computer and find out right now, you can't, and state Rep. Paul DeMarco wants that to change.

"It's already required that it has to be available to the public, but what we don't have is making it easily available to the public," DeMarco (R-Homewood) said Monday. "And when it's not easily available, it might as well not be available, and that's my point."

DeMarco has prefiled a bill that would force the state to start a database that includes any property owned by state agencies or universities.

"Any time we can make dollars more transparent to the public so the public is looking over the shoulder of their elected officials, and say, ‘Yeah, we understand the process,' the better we all are - elected officials and citizens," DeMarco said.

"I think it's a good idea because people can go online and see go online and see what's going on and stuff like that," said a taxpayer named Dave who spoke to FOX6 News Monday.

Most of the taxpayers we caught up with Monday agree.

"To me, as a taxpayer, I want to see my money be used towards something that's going to benefit me or either benefit a positive cause," said Katie. "Not something that's just miscellaneous and I don't know what it is or why I'm paying for it."

"The more it's available to the public the better, the more we know can only help us if they're trying to hide anything from us that wouldn't be beneficial," said a UAB student named Becca. "I'd like to think that it's all going to a good cause, I'll say that, but it's always hard to write that check in the first place."

DeMarco is also planning on filing a bill that requires cities to put their budgets online as well because he says the more eyes on the public checkbook, the better.

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