How 3 Cities Crush Performance Measurement with Local Government Data

After years of adapting to resident requests for more data and transparency, local governments now have enough metrics to not only measure performance but also use those metrics to optimize their work, especially when it comes to budgeting and planning.

(Don’t worry—if your team isn’t quite at this stage, check out this explainer to see how a data dashboard can transform outdated budgeting and reporting workflows). 

But what does this transition within data-driven governments actually look like in practice?

Check out these three communities that initially started using OpenGov tools to measure data more efficiently and are now employing performance data for strategic innovation. 

 

How to Measure Performance with Local Government Data

 

1. City of Milpitas, CA

City of Milpitas Data Usage

 

Deputy Finance Director Walter Rossmann had one goal: implement new budgeting technology to save his team time and unearth new monetary savings. He succeeded; shaving off 1% of their budget, or $4 million, over two budget cycles with OpenGov’s Budget Book.

Rossman and his team could have stopped there; simply tracking how much they were able to save each year as they searched for new efficiencies. But they didn’t …

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they leveraged new platform capabilities to proactively plan for multiple budget scenarios in anticipation of shortfalls from loss of tax revenue. 

Through innovative short-term and long-term measures, such as deferring infrastructure projects, reducing non-personnel costs, and adding a temporary sales tax hike, they managed to adjust their annual budget from $220 million to $195 million, dropping 11.4%, while preserving the maximum personnel positions possible. The City now forecasts a modest annual surplus by FY 22-23. This dramatically outpaces neighboring communities’ COVID-19 pandemic recovery timeline.

 

2. City of Granbury, TX

 

When City of Granbury staff first looked into an ERP Cloud solution for budgeting, City Manager Chris Coffman knew that moving away from Excel and manual-entry reporting would be the first step towards achieving more accuracy around annual revenue and expenditures. After implementing OpenGov Budgeting & Planning, the staff found the line-item drill-downs and visualizations to be extremely intuitive and easy to use. 

Ultimately, the CIty saved approximately 40 hours of staff time per month that would have otherwise gotten sucked up manually reconciling data from multiple datasets. The team was even honored with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by GFOA (which they’ve since gone on to claim annually every year since).

 

The City of Granbury’s published annual budget report that community and Council members can access online 24/7 to see real-time financial performance.

 

3. City of Tampa, FL

 

When the City of Tampa first partnered with OpenGov, they were committed to increasing transparency to help community members see how financial resources were being allocated. CIO Russel Haupert was focused on selecting a solution internal teams could easily learn and incorporate into daily budgeting and reporting workflows, while also moving to a cloud-based solution that would provide an instantaneous financial picture of actual financial performance in relation to goals.

Within the span of a year, the Tampa team became masters in metrics—every department had personalized performance metrics that were published online for the public to access anytime. 

The City also published its online budget book to meet its transparency promise. 

Today, the City’s FY 22 budget shows what is possible when strategic vision and leadership meet advanced analytics and forecasting tools. Mayor Jane Castor not only relies on these data dashboards and visualizations to ensure the City stays on track financially so that the City can fund its five strategic goals: Affordable housing, More Community Services, Workforce Development, Infrastructure, and Sustainability will be the lasting legacy of her administration—as will the City’s major strides in modernizing budgeting and planning.

 

Get Strategic with Your Local Government’s Data

Improving strategy with data is a hard exercise for any organization, but ultimately this is the entire reason performance measurement exists in the first place. If you aren’t utilizing data to inform strategy, you’re spending staff time each month collecting data points in the name of being “data-driven” without the outcomes that support this employee effort. 

These community stories show that, with the right dashboard tools and performance framework, teams have the power to optimize workflows, save money, and innovate to meet the modern demands of constituents. 

Learn more about measuring performance in your community using OpenGov. Request a personalized demo.

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