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Where Your Money Goes: Worcester’s 25 Biggest Checks

Friday, March 14, 2014

 

Ever wonder where your taxes are going? GoLocalWorcester will report monthly on where the big checks are going from the City of Worcester’s coffers. Who is getting the biggest checks each month?

A few years ago the City of Worcester launched an online “checkbook” that was suppose to allow taxpayers to see where their tax dollars were going.  See the checkbook HERE.

Looking for Answers Online

If you have tried to use the tool – many say it is difficult to use.

“Since it's an online, anyone can go online for any purpose, I haven't seen an institutional approach. Every once in a while, you might hear someone reference it for an argument for city council, or advocacy groups using it,” said Tim McGourthy, Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau.

Some of the limitations of the municipal tool is that there are:

No search function
No sort function
No details
No link to contracts or approved expenditure

Commonwealth's transparency platform

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a priority of increasing transparency of government spending. The initiative was further expanded as part of this fiscal year’s budget, “Expanding the OpenCheckbook." The Administration has worked with Quasi-Public Authorities to bring their information onto the OpenCheckbook, supplementing the more than 85% of state spending already presented on the site.

In recent months, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Massachusetts School Building Authority and Pensions Reserve Investment Management Board have all placed spending information on the OpenCheckbook. The Administration has also commenced development of a new platform within the OpenCheckbook to ensure that all Quasi-Public Authorities can follow suit during 2014.

While the Commonwealth has made improvements to the depth and functionality of their online checkbook, the Worcester tool has never been updated.

“I think the challenge is that (Worcester online checkbook) it's in a vacuum, but you don't know the overall purpose, how it's associated with other payments, or what those payments even go towards, specifically. The city's budget process is a far more useful tool for examining priorities," said McGourthy. 

McGourthy, who has been at the helm of the Research Bureau for a month and a half, said he and the executive board are currently working on an internal strategic review to plan for the coming year. "We're looking at topics to focus on, and we'll be rolling those out in the spring and summer."

McGourthy added that new changes included getting on Twitter. "We'll be more active in the social media world now." 

 

Related Slideshow: Biggest Checks Written by the City of Worcester - January 2014

It takes a lot of money to run Worcester. See the city's biggest expenses in this collection of the largest checks written out to vendors.

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25.

Behavioral Concepts

Vendor: Behavioral Concepts

Amount Paid: $239,300.93

Date Issued: 1/8/2014

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24.

Dagle Electrical Construction

Vendor: Dagle Electrical Construction

Amount Paid: $246,201.72

Date Issued: 1/27/2014

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23.

Dagle Electrical Construction

Vendor: Dagle Electrical Construction

Amount Paid: $265,163.91

Date Issued: 1/15/2014

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22.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Vendor: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Amount: $276,000.00

Date Issued: 1/10/2014

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21.

National Grid

Vendor: National Grid

Amount Paid: $295,015.64

Date Issued: 1/27/2014

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20.

H.M. Receivables Co. LLC

Vendor: HM Receivables Co. LLC

Amount Paid: $324,490.20

Date Issued: 1/13/2014

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19.

Worcester Public Library Fund

Vendor: Worcester Public Library Fund

Amount Paid: $350,000.00

Date Issued: 1/24/2014

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18.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Vendor: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Amount: $375,006.48

Date Issued: 1/10/2014

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17.

Fallon Community Health

Vendor: Fallon Community Health

Amount Paid: $393,448.75

Date Issued: 1/10/2014

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16.

Worcester Health Insurance Trust

Vendor: Worcester Health Insurance Trust

Amount Paid: $487,730.23

Date Issued: 1/15/2014

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15.

Worcester Health Insurance Trust

Vendor: Worcester Health Insurance Trust

Amount Paid: $546,045.00

Date Issued: 1/15/2014

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14.

Central Massachusetts Special Services

Vendor: Central Massachusetts Special Services

Amount Paid: $726,297.20

Date Issued: 1/17/2014

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13.

City Square Development Co. LLC

Vendor: City Square Development Co. LLC

Amount Paid: $755,578.68

Date Issued: 1/10/2014

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12.

Fallon Community Health

Vendor: Fallon Community Health

Amount Paid: $768,850.42

Date Issued: 1/10/2014

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11.

Durham School Services

Vendor: Durham School Services

Amount Paid: $867,939.51

Date Issued: 1/23/2014

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10.

Caremark

Vendor: Caremark

Amount Paid: $1,000,000

Date Issued: 1/15/2014

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9.

U.S. Bank

Vendor: U.S. Bank

Amount Paid: $1,102,830.88

Date Issued: 1/02/2014

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8.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Vendor: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Amount Paid: $1,125,013.69

Date Issued: 1/10/2014

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7.

Consigli Construction

Vendor: Consigli Construction

Amount Paid: $1,147,126.15

Date Issued: 1/27/14

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6.

Worcester Health Insurance Trust

Vendor: Worcester Health Insurance Trust

Amount: $1,375,614.90

Date Issued: 1/15/2014

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5.

City Square II Development

Vendor: City Square II Development

Amount Paid: $1,422,488.60

Date Issued: 1/29/2014

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4.

Fallon Community Health Plan

Vendor: Fallon Community Health Plan

Amount Paid: $2,306, 551.25

Date Issued: 1/10/2014

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3.

Worcester Health Insurance Trust

Vendor: Worcester Health Insurance Trust

Amount Paid: $2,720,460.44

Date Issued: 1/15/2014

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2.

U.S. Bank

Vendor: U.S. Bank

Amount Paid: $2,773,453.60

Date Issued: 1/02/14

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1.

U.S. Bank

Vendor: U.S. Bank

Amount Paid: $9,105,608.90

Date Issued: 1/02/14

 
 

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