From the office of Rep. Paul DeMarco
MONTGOMERY – In a continuing effort to bring unprecedented transparency and accountability to government, Rep. Paul DeMarco (R – Homewood) on Wednesday announced he has pre-filed legislation requiring the state to maintain a database disclosing all landholdings and property it owns or leases.
“This legislation will bring an additional measure of transparency to state government by allowing taxpayers to instantly see the property, buildings, structures and facilities that their tax dollars are funding,” DeMarco said. “Easy access to this information will help ensure that the state is being run in a lean and frugal manner, that favoritism is not being shown to particular landlords and property owners, and that we are effectively using the facilities that we paid for.”
Under the provisions of DeMarco’s bill, the State Department of Finance would be required to develop and maintain an automated inventory of all facilities and lands that are owned, leased, rented or occupied by any state agency or the judicial branch.
In addition to disclosing the exact location of the property in question, the database will include the name of the owner and the occupying state department.
The Alabama Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Postsecondary Education would also be required to collect the required property data and submit it to Finance for inclusion in the database.
Similarly, the database would also include lands managed by the State Lands Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Any new acquisitions or changes in prior ownership or lease agreements would be updated within the system as they occur.
“Alabama’s online check book has been available to the public for the past few years, and it’s time for the information about property owned and leased by the state to be made available on the Internet, as well,” DeMarco said. “Information related to the public sector should be readily available to the public it serves, and I hope my colleagues agree when the bill comes before them during the 2013 legislative session.”