County of Ventura Launches Financial Transparency Website
The County of Ventura, in partnership with OpenGov.com, has launched a new website that enables everyone – from residents to County employees – to easily see where County revenues come from and how they are used to deliver federal, state and locally mandated services.
The Open Budget Portal was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Supervisor Peter Foy’s Office, the Auditor-Controller Jeff Burgh’s office, the County Executive Office and the Information Technology Services Department. The site is available now and can be accessed by visiting the county’s website (www.ventura.org) and clicking on the “How We Spend Your Tax Dollars” link, or by going directly to venturacountyca.opengov.com.
“When we prepare the County budget, our goal is to be open and transparent, to be consistent with our long-term priorities and to be fiscally responsible. We do this with the goal of making Ventura County safer, healthier and even more sustainable,” said County CEO Mike Powers. “Our new Open Budget Portal will dynamically present the County’s revenues and expenses in a format that is easy to read and understand. And for those who want more than an overview, the site allows visitors to drill down to see all of the details.”
The County of Ventura has a tradition of being fiscally conservative. The value of this approach has been evident over the past several years as the county has been able to continue delivering services through one of the greatest recessionary periods in the nation’s history, without reductions in quality or timeliness. The County has also taken action to further strengthen its budget and increase reserves, resulting in its receiving the highest rating of AAA from all three national independent bond-rating agencies. The Open Budget Portal will help to illustrate how all of this was achieved.
To further bolster its fiscal efforts, the County will be launching a new financial management system at the start of its next fiscal year, July 1, 2015. The new system is the county’s first since 1997 and will provide a new chart of accounts that will be better suited for the current financial climate and provide more detailed accounting, all of which will be visible in the Open Budget Portal. The new web-based system will also allow remote access, improve workflow, reduce paper processes and provide “real time” reports. In addition, vendors will be able to track bids and payments and the system allows for the electronic transfer of funds.
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