Rock Island County office building

The Rock Island County office building located at 1504 3rd Ave., Rock Island. The county went from an F last year to an A this year in our grades for government transparency.

ROCK ISLAND COUNTY: A

WEBSITE: (30/32 points): The Rock Island County Board has meeting packets, agendas and minutes going back to 2008 on the Rock Island County Board website, rockislandcounty.org/CountyBoard/Home.

The names and phone numbers for each of the 25 members of the Rock Island County Board can be found under the heading “county board members."

The budget for fiscal year 2017 can be found on the homepage of Rock Island County, rockislandcounty.org (note the County Board site is different), which also maintains budgets, beginning with 2013. Along with the current budget is the county’s capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2017 through fiscal year 2021. The Auditor’s Report also is available.

On the county homepage, there is a directory that provides names, phone numbers and email addresses for each department's leadership. The site also contains a Freedom of Information directory, which lists a FOIA officer for each department.

MEETINGS (17/25 points): From 2012 to 2016, the Rock Island County Board held a total of 81 meetings that included regular and special meetings of the board. In that time, the board went into closed session 26 times. The closed sessions had to do with personnel issues, including negotiations and bargaining with the unions that represent the county’s workers. Minutes of closed sessions cannot be made public until the matter under discussion is resolved, per Illinois law.

The county board went into executive session more than 20 percent of the time.

BUDGET/FINANCIALS (35/35 points): The budget for fiscal year 2017 can be found on the Rock Island County website home page. The budget contains a complete table of contents on which there are hyperlinks to each section of the budget. For instance, clicking on the hyperlink for section 5b of the budget will take you to the summary for outstanding debt for the county. There also are hyperlinks to all sections of the budget, including, for example, the executive summary, bonds/debt service and property tax information.

The budget also contains an executive summary, a list of financial policies, an explanation of the budget cycle, budget trends, as well as a summary of funds and departments. There also are explanations on the debt service and property taxes.

Graphs aid in understanding the budget schedules, and there are complete budget worksheets and expense reports in the budget.

RECORDS (10/10): There is no fee to inspect records. The first 50 pages of copies are free and 15 cents per page after 50.

A request for the expense reports filed for the week of Oct. 10-14, 2016, was satisfied the same day. Because the request did not specify which department, the county assumed all departments and provided the information for each of the departments. There was no fee for the documents.

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