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How to Find Out if San Mateo County Owes You Money

San Mateo County residents this week will have a chance to find out if they're owed a portion of $1.8 million in unclaimed checks from the county.

Does San Mateo County owe you money? 

San Mateo County residents this week will have a chance to find out if they're owed a portion of $1,818,449 in unclaimed checks from the county.

Whether San Mateo County has an unclaimed check with your name on it is just one feature of Data Innovation Day, which will be held at 455 County Center, Redwood City, on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The public is invited to take a virtual tour through data that the county collects. This open data can then be used by entrepreneurs or individuals to build new businesses based on the data they collect or to act as cyber-watchdogs to gauge how tax dollars are being spent.

“Local government collects vast amounts of data on everything from building permits to crime data,” said Supervisor Dave Pine. “We want to put the power of information into the hands of the public to hold their government accountable, provide feedback and help local government respond to emerging needs and dynamics.”

During Data Innovation Day, the county will have computers available and tech-savvy employees to help the public explore data.

San Mateo County is one of a number of public agencies around the world participating in Data Innovation Day, which is held to highlight the benefits that can be found in government data.

Over the past year San Mateo County launched numerous initiatives to help the public better understand the role of county government and to track expenditures and performance.

For instance, the Open Data Portal (data.smcgov.org) is an ever-growing database of publicly available information.

Another example is the County’s Controller, Bob Adler, has launched Open Checkbook (data.smcgov.org/checkbook). Open Checkbook allows the public to track any payment of $5,000 or more for any good or service.

“In combination with our audited financial reports, Open CheckBook provides the citizens of San Mateo County with even greater transparency on how the County uses taxpayer dollars,” said Adler.

Another example is SMC Performance (performance.smcgov.org). This tool allows the public to track the progress of key measures starting with initiatives funded by Measure A, the half-cent sales tax voters approved in November 2012.

“Data is powerful,” Pine said. “We encourage the public to explore our data and to find useful ways to use that data to launch a business or tell us how to do a better job.”

Data Innovation Day will feature events in Washington, DC and across the United States as well as in more than 100 global partners in India, Ireland, England, Turkey, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine and Australia.

What:   Data Innovation Day

When:  Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: 455 County Center (across the courtyard from the Hall of Justice), First Floor, Redwood City (Google map) Metered parking is available on the street and in the County garage on Middlefield Road just off Veterans Boulevard.

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