Oakland Park Increases Financial Transparency with OpenGov

POPULATION: 43,286 | AGENCY TYPE: City | ANNUAL BUDGET: $98 Million

Oakland Park Revitalizes Online Presence


Oakland Park, Florida has enjoyed a successful revitalization that was the result of a ten-year planning and reinvestment effort. The initiative yielded a pedestrian-friendly downtown, new family-friendly housing options, palm tree-lined green spaces, and new cultural and recreation offerings, from outdoor concerts to a vibrant culinary arts district.

City Clerk Renee Shrout spearheaded a website redesign to align with the City’s visible commitment to customer service and citizen engagement. As part of this online update, Assistant Director of Financial Services & ITS Andrew Thompson wanted to make the City’s finances more transparent and accessible.


City Seeks Increased Financial Transparency


“We wanted to increase financial transparency and also make it easier for internal staff to access financial data quickly,” said Thompson, during a presentation for the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA).

To facilitate this broader online information access, Thompson examined available solutions and learned about OpenGov. With a small team that was being asked to tackle more and more, Thompson was initially doubtful about a new software implementation process. “We were very short staffed, and were hesitant to start yet another project alongside the new website and a multi-year implementation of our new ERP system,” he noted. The team decided to move forward adopt the OpenGov Smart Government Cloud™ after hearing how easy the process was from existing cities in the network.

Oakland Park revitalized its online presence with new website and OpenGov Transparency portal, which helps communicate the city’s finances to stakeholders


Oakland Park’s Smooth OpenGov Implementation


After deciding to implement the OpenGov platform, Thompson provided the OpenGov’s Customer Success team with Oakland Park’s general ledger data and Chart of Accounts. OpenGov used this information to build the City’s unique platform in just three days. “The OpenGov implementation was simple and painless,” Thompson said. “We timed the release of [our OpenGov Transparency portal] to the website launch and it worked really well. I think having the budget data in an interactive format on the new site is a great feature for our residents.”

Thompson noted that increasing transparency with respect to municipal financial data is becoming more common in Florida and beyond. “It is becoming more of a priority, especially now that new technologies are enabling governments to do this without burdening IT and other staff,” he said.

The City uses Saved Views to bookmark answers to common questions, making it easier to access information.


OpenGov Enhances Internal Efficiency


In addition to providing current and easily-accessible information to the City’s residents through OpenGov, Thompson also noted the platform’s immediate benefits to the City’s internal staff. “In a couple of clicks on my phone, tablet, or computer, I can see how much we’re spending on repair and maintenance across all funds this year, and compare that amount to the past several years. Before it would take much more time to pull that data from my accounting system.”

City employees from all departments can similarly access and manipulate data through OpenGov; something that was not possible through the City’s financial management system. “Oakland Park wins the GFOA Distinguished Budget Award every year, but you just can’t drill into data, especially across funds, in a static PDF like you can through a software platform like OpenGov,” Thompson noted. The managers across the City particularly enjoy the ability to pull their own budget data up in real-time during meetings, even from their mobile devices.

Town staff also engages with the public in more meaningful ways through OpenGov. “We’ve used the platform to explain the budget as part of our Local Government Academy,” Thompson explained. As more residents are drawn to the revitalized Oakland Park, the City looks forward to continuing to engage, educate, and empower citizens through OpenGov.

OpenGov provides the city’s staff with on-demand access to critical information in just a few clips.

Results

  • On-Demand Data for City Staff.

    OpenGov provides the City’s staff and managers with the tools they need to access real-time data anytime, on any device.

  • Faster Internal Reporting.

    Oakland Park’s managers are able to gather data across multiple funds in a few clicks, instead of pulling manual reports from a legacy accounting system.

  • Stronger Citizen Engagement.

    OpenGov makes financial data accessible and easily-understood for residents.

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