Keeping a TAB on City Hall

City Hall has more than a dozen committees, dealing with parks, transportation, budget, social services, development planning, etc.  And each committee meets every month, with a huge agenda.

For those who want to stay on top of a particular municipal issue, the hardest part is navigating through these agendas, and finding the topic you need.  After all, it’s not very helpful to find out about a decision at City Hall after it’s been made.  The trick is to know about agenda items, before they are debated.

Well, here’s some good news!  The good folks at the Toronto Public Space Initiative have designed a new website called TABS: Transparent and Accessible Bulletin System.

TABS allows you to search through all the agendas at City Hall, in seconds.  But more importantly, TABS allows you to create personalised e-mail alerts for any keyword of your choice.  Every time your customised phrase appears in an agenda item, you’ll get a notice in your inbox.  Your phrase can be issue-based (“library”), neighbourhood-based (“parkdale”), or as local as your street name (“Clinton Street”).

Check out the new system, and also check out their fundraising page.  TPSI is hoping to raise enough money to expand the project to add:

  • Bill/policy progress tracking.
  • Text/phone alerts.
  • Advice on how to engage City Hall.
  • Expansion of the system to include the Agencies, Boards, and Commissions of the City of Toronto (TTC, Library Board, Toronto District School Board, etc)
  • Research into geo-location of alerts, and information of nearby community organizations, contextual information, and other expanded features.
  • Research on expansion to other Cities and Levels of Government.

If you like TABS, please consider supporting their work!

Now, I’m going to set up some personal TABS alerts, for “billboard”, “bike lane”, “kites” and “ranked ballots”.

(Read more, on BlogTO)

3 responses to “Keeping a TAB on City Hall

  1. Hey Dave,
    Would this be transferable to other communities?

  2. Hey Dave, thanks for the great post! Glad you’re finding the site useful.

    Hi Jill: I’m the primary developer behind the site, and to answer your question — most certainly! Every community will make their agenda items available in a different manner, and so the methods to interface with them will need to be customized, but in general we hope to expand TABS to other communities in collaboration with other organizations doing similar initiatives.

  3. Pingback: Link of the Week 9 | Erin Blogs the Just City

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