Christiansburg, rightfully, got busted for being secretive and less than transparent a few years ago.
Since then, citizens (not council or a singular member) moved the vote and have witnessed a revamped web site, the creation of Finance/Treasurer and Public Information Office positions, credit/debit card payment of bills and priority based budgeting (providing lots of ways to slice and dice data, down to a departmental level).
Still, how transparent is our government?
How accurate are the proposed and adopted budgets, as contrasted to actual revenues and expenses?
Hard to tell.
For all the additional (expensive) resources made available by Council and "for" town citizens, one may have difficultly in easily discerning real-time government costs.
As blogged about here long ago, the tools to provide this information are out there. In Virginia, we see that Williamsburg and now local Radford have embraced these dashboard tools, useful for both elected officials and taxpayers.
When a taxpayer understands public expenses under/less than a certain dollar amount -- especially when "off budget" or outside regular allocations (like new salaries, equipment or contracts for services such as consultants or headhunters) -- are expended with little or no oversight, how are citizens to trust public funds are being used quite carefully, as presumed being the norm in individual household budgets today?
Ask your Christiansburg incumbents. And candidates for council positions. If they can't answer coherently, check your support.