Farmersville, Texas Streamlines Budgeting and Performance with OpenGov
Daphne Hamlin, the City’s Financial Director, knew that something had to change when Farmersville lost the State of Texas financial transparency award in 2018. She began to look at other governments to see how they were bringing transparency to the forefront of their budget development. Hamlin found that the nearby City of McKinney’s online budget, powered by OpenGov, was easily accessible and demonstrated that they really knew what they were doing.
The Struggle Is Real
White highlighted a few of the major pain points that accompanied their old budget process. Three times a year, he would meet with Hamlin to review long spreadsheets and try to interpret the data, only to find errors that would have to be painstakingly corrected before the next review. Their process of using Excel spreadsheets made it very difficult to identify mistakes and make updates in the moment.
Not only did this system cause Hamlin to spend a frustratingly long amount of time making sure the budget draft was correct, it also made it very difficult to report on financials for the city council in their monthly meeting. She had to additionally make sure she had enough physical copies of the financials so that everyone could review at once.
There Has to Be Another Way
After implementing OpenGov Budgeting, the City witnessed massive growth in efficiency and transparency. Much of Hamlin’s time that was previously spent on developing, reviewing, and correcting the budget was freed up for other pressing projects that required her focus.
White, who has a Six Sigma certification and is a self-proclaimed lover of data, commented on Farmersville’s unique dual implementation, which combined non-financial and financial data. This means that not only is budget information at his fingertips, valuable police data and other non-financial information is as well, allowing them to make informed decisions based off of actionable insights. White added that his staff loves using the non-financial data with OpenGov. “We don’t do things based on emotion, we do things based on data,” he clarified. This data-driven mindset for reaching impactful outcomes has streamlined their process and widely increased efficiency.
“I’ve been doing the budget here for 20 years, and this year has been the easiest budget yet. I’ve had no issues.”
Daphne Hamlin, Financial Director, City of Farmersville, Texas