Montgomery County, PA uses OpenGov to Uncover Internal Insights and Engage the Public
Credit: Montgomery County
Overcoming Budgetary Challenges
The 815,000 residents of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania form a vibrant and diverse community. Densely populated urban areas combine with farms and open land to power an economy dependent on health sciences, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, IT, agriculture, and retail. The county’s government serves both remarkably wealthy and impoverished areas.
Montgomery County’s Chief Finance Officer, Uri Monson, joined Montgomery in 2012 to address the county’s serious budgetary issues. Previous officials drained reserves from $100 million to $23 million, imposed frequent operating deficits — one year was as high as $27 million —, and dramatically increased debt and service payments by issuing long-term fixed debt. Montgomery County’s budget was a mere twelve pages long, with handwritten page numbers and just two columns with last year’s budget and the current budget; there were no actuals. The budget did not even account for all necessary expenses; it failed to budget staff for a new prison wing opened in October 2011. And when the budget did include line items for various expenses, the numbers in the public budget did not match the county’s accounting system.
The newly elected commissioners directed the County’s Senior Staff to achieve a fiscally responsible budget, and present it in a transparent fashion. Montgomery adopted a zero-based budget model the first year, reduced the county’s debt, and refilled reserve funds. As the county’s budget recovered, Mr. Monson and Montgomery’s commissioners looked for ways to increase internal insights into resource allocation while engaging the public. In June 2014, Montgomery purchased OpenGov Intelligence both to provide public administrators with actionable, data-driven insights for the budget process and to engage the public.
Category: Customer Story