CITY HALL — Ever wonder how much Santa Monica trees are worth? Or where all the city’s fire hydrants are? Or how many city employees bike to work?

City Hall’s new open data program is up and running with answers to those questions and harder-hitting ones, like compensation totals for all city employees from 2012 and 2013.

In 2013, according to the data, which is available atdata.smgov.net, 62 city employees received more than $300,000 in total compensation last year up from 43 employees the year before. This includes base salary as well as overtime, benefits, and other categories of compensation. Five city employees received $400,000 or more in compensation, including a police sergeant in 2013, up from two employees the year before.

The trees, to answer the earlier questions, are worth $138 million by their replacement value alone. The trees that hold the most overall value in the city by the sea, are the Indian laurel fig — there are more than 3,000 of them, many valued at over $17,000. City Hall has more than $26 million in the Indian laurel fig trees alone.

With the open data website you can map each of City Hall’s more than 33,000 trees by size or type or value. A majority of the city’s 227 trees valued at $25,000 or more are located north of Montana Avenue. Only five are located south of Pico Boulevard. The city’s three most valuable trees, Chilean wine palms worth $33,000 a piece, are all on the same block north of Montana.

Much of the data is already available elsewhere in one form or another or could be obtained through public records requests but this information is immediate and in a format that allows users to play with the numbers. Columns are sortable and data can be exported for use in Excel or other spreadsheet applications.

Users can look at a map of the city’s historic landmarks or the boundaries of neighborhood organizations. There’s a calendar and map of the permit inspections held in the city. A map depicts each of City Halls 1,376 fire hydrants.

There’s also a log of all the trips city employees took to work using alternative means of transportation. Of the thousands of bike rides that city employees have made since early 2013, most are from within the city limits. At least one employee was making the trek from North Hollywood on a bike and another from the area around Dodger Stadium — both are nearly 20-mile bike rides one-way. There were more than 35,000 trips taken using alternative means since early 2013, according to the data.

Numerous other cities, including Los Angeles, have similar programs. This will allow users to compare those cities with Santa Monica.

The Daily Press will be taking a more in-depth look at some of the data in order to write a series of stories in the coming weeks.

 

dave@www.smdp.com

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