The City of Evanston is one of only three towns among the 25 largest in the state to receive a 100 percent score on measures of online transparency in a new ranking from the Illinois Policy Institute.

Other towns receiving the perfect score were Skokie and Orland Park.

By comparison, the state’s four largest cities — Chicago, Aurora Rockford and Joliet — all had transparency scores in the 50 percent range.

Cicero came in with by far the lowest score — meeting just 22 percent of the transparency standards.

Evanston’s final score was up from 87 percent the first time the group checked the city’s website, in 2011. Skokie showed even more improvement, rising from 59 percent. Details of the scoring are available online.

The Illinois Policy Institute says it looks for a wide range of information — from contact phone numbers for local officials to detailed budgets, audits and bills lists — in determining whether a municipality is operating transparently.

A bill that would have required municipalities to dramatically increase the amount of data they provide online about their operations failed to win approval in the state legislature this year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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