Florida’s counties have a mixed record on transparency

How transparent is your county? Did you know that only 47 of 67 of Florida’s counties post their budget online? Less than half post current audit information on their website. Only three counties disclose if they belong to a government sector lobbying association.

Sunshine Review is dedicated to “bringing state and local government to light”. A government that is transparent is key to understanding how it functions and spends taxpayer money in the public good. Florida’s 67 counties have a mixed record.

Florida has 67 counties. In 1968, Florida voters adopted a constitutional amendment that grants local voters the power to adopt charters to govern their counties. Charters are formal written documents that confer powers, duties, or privileges on the county. They resemble state or federal constitutions and they must be approved by the county’s voters.

As of January 2009, 20 counties in Florida have adopted charter status. Taken together, these counties include more than 75 percent of Florida’s residents.

According to Sunshine Review:

  • 47 of the 67 counties posted their budgets online.
  • 60 counties include information on their websites about public government meetings.
  • 57 include information about the county’s elected officials.
  • 46 include information about the county’s administrative officials.
  • 52 counties give information about permits and zoning in the county.
  • 31 of the counties put information on their websites about audits that the county government has had performed.
  • 22 of the 67 counties give information about their contracts with county vendors.
  • 3 Counties (DuvalPalm BeachPinellas) disclose whether or not they belong to a government sector lobbying associations.
  • 8 counties (CalhounDixieDuvalEscambiaHighlandsOrangePinellasPolkPutnam) provide information on how to request public records using the Florida Sunshine Law.
  • 54 county websites provide some information about county taxes.

Additionally, Ballotpedia evaluated Ballot measure information on Florida county websites.

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