The administration should provide the Claims Listing Report to the Council and public in Excel format. This will enable us to more carefully scrutinize how we spend our municipal finances.
Currently, the administration provides the Claims Listing report to the City Council in PDF. However, the Claims Listing Report on average, is long, (about 12 pages), lists dozens of vendors and has totals in the millions. Therefore, it is difficult to analyze this report in PDF.
A better way to analyze such a report is via an Excel spreadsheet. (It is possible to copy and paste from PDF into Excel; however, this creates time consuming formatting problems which get multiplied if done for a number of Claims Listing Reports).
Using an Excel spreadsheet to analyze the Claims Listing Report offers the advantages of pivot tables and data sorts to track how much we spend on any vendor. This may help identify over-spends, (and under-spends).
I believe the public and council could have detected the problems we encountered with Suez Water sooner if they had been equipped with a better tool to analyze our Claims Listing Report.
Also, a spreadsheet format will enable council members to be in a much better position to understand how much we have spent on each vendor prior to approving additional vendor payments.