What is “Lakewood Ledger”?

Lakewood Ledger is an online database that allows citizens to view City expense payment records. Expenditure information can be searched by:

  • Expense Type: listing more than 200 of the City’s expense categories such as advertising, meals, consulting, construction costs, telecommunications and more.
  • Department:  showing the expense types for each of the City’s 12 departments.
  • Fund: listing by individual funds such as the City's General, Capital Improvement, Grants or Enterprise funds.
  • Vendor: listing by alphabetical order.  Only expenses paid by check through the City’s Accounts Payable system and by City credit cards are included in this search function.  Payments made by bank electronic transfers are excluded since the vendor name is not available in the data records.  

The tool allows you to get detailed information by continuing to click on each summary item to get to the details of date, amount, and payee.  For example:

  • Click on “Expense Type”.
  • From the list of expense types, click on an expense like “Advertising”.
  • Totals of advertising expenses are listed by department.
  • From the list of department totals, click on a department like “Community Resources” to see individual expenses listed by vendor/payee name, description of the transaction, date, and amount.

Any search can be limited to a user’s specified date range.

Why Lakewood Ledger?

The Internet has revolutionized the way all of us are sharing information.  Lakewood Ledger is a step in using the Internet to provide more information to residents about the City’s financial transactions.  The City of Lakewood is committed to being a transparent organization consistent with City Council’s Core Community Value of open and honest communications. Local government is accountable in spending taxpayer funds. The City of Lakewood is among the first in the nation to offer this level of expense detail and provide it in an online tool that doesn't require knowledge of government accounting (e.g. expense account numbers, general ledger terminology).

What type of information is available?

Lakewood Ledger includes data compiled directly from the City’s financial system, which includes the Lakewood Public Building Authority, Lakewood Reinvestment Authority and the funds used to account for the expenses to deliver services. It includes expense payments paid directly to vendors by check as well as electronic funds transfers,  those made with City credit cards and summarized payroll expenses.  The information in the database is the original spending transactions directly from the City’s accounting system, but Lakewood Ledger does not reflect revenue or other accounting entries such as year-end adjustments and corrections.

Expense information that is required to be protected by law such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other items to protect privacy are also not included. As a result, some expense types and funds used by the City have been excluded.

Where can I find other financial information?

The City annually prepares and publishes several important financial reports.

Annual Budget – what the City plans to do financially. The Annual Budget serves as the funding plan for policies, goals, and service-levels as determined by the City Council. This document is a comprehensive decision-making tool that provides detail for the current year Revised Budget (Revised) and the following year’s Budget. The budget includes historical results, budget data and forecasted (estimated) data beyond the budget year. The budget provides fund summary reports as well as program budgets that identify activities and financial detail for each City department. The department/division and program summaries provide assistance to the reader in understanding historical data along with the current year's budgetary detail. The budget is typically adopted at the last council meeting in September and published in October of each year. It is made available in hard copy and on the City's web site.

Additional detailed information is provided in the Annual Budget Supplemental Data which consists of the line item detail for each Program Structure within each Department and a Revenue and Expenditure schedule for each Business Unit.

Annual Budget in Brief – is an executive summary of the year's budget along with other statistical information.

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – what the City did financially for the year. This report contains the City's audited financial statements including the notes to the financial statements for the year. The financial statements report the year-end financial results for the City. The comprehensive report also includes Management's Discussion and Analysis, revenues and expenditures comparisons to approved budget by fund and statistical information. The CAFR is typically published in July of each year and is made available in hard copy and on the City's web site.

Does this system replace Public Records Requests?

No, this tool is not intended to replace public records requests in any way. In the event additional detail about these or other transactions is of interest, a public records request may be filed with the City Clerk’s Office to obtain the additional records.  

How current is the information?

The data runs from January 1, 2010, through the month prior to the current date.  The database is automatically updated on the fourth Monday of each month with the previous month's data. For example, February data is updated on the fourth Monday of March. Lakewood Ledger will accumulate data for 10 years.

Where do I find payroll information?

City personnel expenses are categorized in two expense types, “Salaries & Wages” and “Employee Benefits.”  This expense data from the City’s financial system has been summarized into two-week totals (based on the City’s payroll which happens every two weeks) for each department.  This provides a view of the City’s personnel costs as related to the City’s expenses as a whole.  These totals are included under the “Expense Type”, “Department”, and “Fund” search functions.  If additional personnel expense information is desired, a public records request may be filed with the City Clerk’s Office. 

Why do all credit card transactions for the month show up as the same date?

Although credit card transactions occur throughout a given month, in Lakewood Ledger they are presented for the same day of the month.  The reason for this is that the City imports credit card data into its financial system and processes all the previous month's transactions from the City’s credit card company as a whole on a single day. Generally, this means that credit card expenses you see in a month are dated the same day, but the expenses actually took place the previous month. 

Why is the same payee or vendor listed more than once in some cases?

The City’s business processes sometimes require vendors to be set up in our accounts payable system more than once.  Generally, this is to distinguish between vendor payment types (check vs. credit card), stores of a chain (as processed by the credit card company), or vendors with multiple payment addresses.

Can I sort the data?

All columns in a table are available to sort the data. Click in the heading of a column you want to sort.  The sort method is identified by a white arrow to the right of the column name.  An “up” arrow denotes ascending order; a “down” arrow denotes descending order.  Click in the heading a second time to reverse the order.