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Online portal offers a peek into Buffalo finances

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Mike Desmond/wbfo news
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There's a little more transparency now in Buffalo City Hall with the Common Council putting its agenda and supporting paperwork online.

Comptroller Mark Schroeder on Thursday launched his Open Book Buffalo web portal. It includes access to city finances right down to payroll lists, anything people can get if a Freedom of Information Law request is answered.

"Open Book Buffalo shows how the city is spending its money, with whom and for what," Schroeder explained.

"It's the taxpayer's money. They deserve to know how it's being spent."

There are a number of city agencies which use their own computer and accounting systems not accessible through this portal as are records of what agency workers are doing. Schroeder says the Urban Renewal Agency and the Buffalo Sewer Authority have recently put their records on the city computer system and they may soon be accessible through Open Book.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.