Understand changes in important project budgets with clear and interactive visualizations.
City Leaders Deliver User-Friendly Smart Government Platform
Their strategic planning worked. When the platform launched, a swell of media coverage drove Minneapolis residents to the site. “Minneapolis government is now more transparent, thanks to a new online tool,” the Minnesota Daily proclaimed.
According to City Council Member John Quincy, residents who previously wanted city financial information would have had to piece it together from the city’s website and ad hoc communications with city officials, even possibly needing to file a Minnesota Data Practices Act request. Quincy was thrilled with how the new website made the city’s financial information much more accessible.
“OpenGov is more accessible to the general public. We wanted to provide information, not just data.”
Jeff Schneider, Enterprise Finance Specialist, Minneapolis, MN
Schneider shared, “We went with the OpenGov platform because we believed it was more accessible to the general public. We wanted to provide information, not just data.” As the city expands — just last year, Minneapolis experienced $2 billion in new construction, along with rises in population and employment — the site will help officials and the public track the financial implications of such rapid growth.
Smart Government For the Long-Term
For Schneider, though, transparency is not just about going through the motions of his workday. “It is a privilege and honor to work in local government, and in return, I share the longstanding Minneapolis City value of working in an open and transparent manner,” he said. “Our residents who pay the bills have a right to understand where their money is going.”
Indeed, as the public becomes increasingly familiar with the city’s OpenGov platform, city officials believe it will become an increasingly useful long-term resource. Quincy expects the platform to garner increased attention during future budget seasons, and the platform has improved communication beyond the city’s traditional 500-page budget document produced as a bulky PDF each year.
Beyond improving transparency, OpenGov will also strengthen the city’s internal operations. “It is too early to tell precisely how this site will contribute to internal efficiency,” Schneider noted. “Presumably, though, some of the external site visitors are getting information that they previously would have needed to retrieve via phone calls or emails to city staff.”
By proactively making information available, the city is reducing staff time required to fulfill often duplicative or time-intensive records requests. That is time staff can use to focus on fulfilling Minneapolis’s strategic goal of creating a city that works — a city government that runs well and connects to the community it serves. “Publishing a financial transparency website is becoming an expectation of the public and the media,” Schneider said. “They may not use it every day, but they want it to be available when needed.”