Communities Launch OpenGov’s Interactive Capital Project Stories

December 13, 2019 – Eric DiProspero

Communities leveraging the OpenGov Cloud have modernized and streamlined their approach to Capital Budgeting and developing the CIP. Communities like Minneapolis, MN, Anoka County, MN, and Montgomery County have recently publicly launched Capital Projects and their CIP through OpenGov.

From roads and bridges to new buildings and facilities, Capital Projects are perhaps the most visible and tangible output of Government service delivery. Residents, Government Employees, Elected Officials, and Media are all aware and impacted when a project is a success or failure. Through the Capital Improvement Plan, a community’s infrastructure is maintained and sustained over time—with adequate funding allocated for it.

A Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) contains all the individual capital projects, equipment purchases, and major studies for a local government; in conjunction with construction and completion schedules, and in consort with financing plans. The plan provides a working blueprint for sustaining and improving the community’s infrastructures. It coordinates strategic planning, financial capacity, and physical development. A CIP stands at the epicenter of a government’s Planning, Public Works, and Finance departments.

In Anoka County, MN, their staff looked to improve capital budgeting and reporting that was heavily reliant on Excel spreadsheets, one-off business documents and a OneSolution accounting system that created complexities and did not properly address Capital Budgeting. Anoka County turned to OpenGov to develop and end-to-end budgeting process, culminating in publishing an interactive online version of their CIP, including individual project pages. These pages, developed using OpenGov Capital Stories, contained key information like project descriptions, priority, funding sources, progress and even mapping for location. Because of the entirety of the budget was developed in OpenGov, the online publication was seamless for the projects.

In Montgomery County, PA, the Finance staff was looking for a way to standardize the capital budgeting process, while highlighting key projects that were important to the community and to Commissioners. The available on-premise technology was unable to appropriately address and assist with Budgeting or Planning capabilities. The County staff turned to OpenGov to develop the Capital Budget, provide geospatial (GIS) information on each project, rank and score the projects, and ultimately share narrative around the importance of each project.

The City of Minneapolis had a more complex overall budgeting process (including CIP) that their team decided to solve with an innovative approach. Some of the complexities included legacy Planning applications, a citizen committee for capital project scoring, a need to reduce the level of effort to produce a publication and a better online presence for key projects. The budget staff utilized The OpenGov Cloud™ for Budgeting and Planning while creating a comprehensive CIP with live and interactive project pages built in OpenGov. These pages showcased robust evaluation criteria and justification for projects that provided increased interaction with the community.

Customers use background analytics in OpenGov and showed an overall increase of public interest and participation by almost 30%, as opposed to the traditional channels of PDF publications and posting documents online.

Want to learn more about Capital Planning?

Download our eBook “Capital Planning in the Digital Era” to learn:

  • Fundamentals of creating a capital improvement plan
  • How digital tools can make CIP easier, more collaborative, and transparent
  • Capital planning best practices