The Water and Sewerage Authority of Jackson County, Georgia has launched a new budgeting system using the OpenGov Budget Builder. The tool, which recently moved out of beta, allows users to input previous budgets and current financials to build a budget without having to rely on excel or manual calculations.
OpenGov also announced today that more than 20 other local governments including Harford County, Maryland; Long Beach, New York; and Culpeper, VA are actively rolling out OpenGov Budget Builder for their upcoming budget cycles.
Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority was an early adopter city alongside Burnet, Texas, and Greenwood, Indiana. Judy Smith, the agency’s finance director tells CivSource that she first learned of the tool at the annual Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) conference, from the finance director in Burnet. “We were working through the some of the same problems when it came to setting our yearly budgets,” Smith says in an interview. “It would take me until November to get a budget together for the next year because we were reconciling paper and excel sheets. By moving to this tool I was able to have the budget prepared for presentation by October.”
Smith says that the Water Authority plans to make new budget reports available to her board through the tool in the coming months. Within the next year, the Water Authority will also have a public facing financing portal that will provide information on the Water Authority and its operations.
“Smart budgeting is critical to the efficiency and efficacy of local government,” said OpenGov CEO and Co-Founder Zac Bookman. “We had the vision for this product in mind from the very beginning because budgeting for government is not like budgeting for a business. The process is very in-depth and very intensive. Budgeting in government is also one of the processes that is most laborious and least served by technology. We want to change that.”
Budget Builder integrates with OpenGov’s suite of other tools. For agencies that are already using other parts of the OpenGov platform installation is turnkey. For new customers, OpenGov is offering a quickstart deployment that can be up and running within 48 hours. Agencies access a single online platform to prepare budgets, report on spending against budgets, analyze other performance metrics, and keep elected officials and citizens better informed about how tax dollars are being spent.
CivSource previously reported on Denton, Texas’ use of OpenGov which was the first implementation of the company’s open data portal technology. The offering works for municipalities of all types but specifically targets small to mid-sized cities which are often left behind by larger open data providers. Taken together, cities can implement the open data portal and budgeting tools as part of a comprehensive transparency platform.