Payments are specific dollar amounts given on specific dates for specific goods or services to vendors under contracts with the City. Contracts are agreements (also sometimes called "awards") that specify goods or services to be supplied by vendors to the City. All of these contracts are taken from the Vendor, Contract, and Payment Search lookup tool maintained by the Department of Procurement Services. Payments are always associcated with a contact which is agreed upon with a vendor, so the best way to find payments is to use the search box in the upper right. Type in any word and you'll get a set of related contracts and vendors. Keep in mind that this is by no means every payment given by the City of Chicago. See more information on this subject here. [ink to a blog post TBD]