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Government & Politics

Divided Akron City Council Turns Down Free Trial of Budget Software

City Council, Akron, OH
City of Akron website
Akron City Council 2018

On a split vote Akron City Council has again said no to a trial run with software that would give citizens a detailed and interactive view of how the city spends money. But the issue may be raised again

Balancing Act software page
Credit Balancing Act website
Balancing Act website
Sample of 'Balancing Act' software presentation

The program is called ‘Balancing Act’ and 4th Ward councilman Russ Neal has been pushing to get the city to test it for a thirty-day free trial.  Council balked, first over funding after the free trial, and then over procedural issues.

Neal calls those excuses to hide cold feet over giving the public an open look at the books.  He says he’ll keep up the pressure. “I’m going to  bring it back before council.  Because what this body is going to have to say is that, you know what, the truth is we don’t want to engage the citizens in the process.”

Ward 1 councilman Rich Swirsky opposed the software.  He wouldn’t say whether the matter will be before council again. “You’d have to say it’s up to the sponsor.”  [“Would there be any circumstance in which you might support it?”]  “I’d have to look at the legislation.” 

Russ Neal and Veronica Sims
Council members Russ Neal and Veronica Sims were among the five yes votes

This is the second time council has said no to funding the software.  The vote was six-five against going forward with the free trial, with one abstension; and Council President Margo Summerville was excused- absent from the meeting.