Pueblo County, CO Gains Valuable Insights for Budget Planning with OpenGov
POPULATION: 162,000 | AGENCY TYPE: County Government | ANNUAL BUDGET: $164 Million
Pueblo County relied on a 30-year-old, homegrown financial software system that was difficult to use; staff members could not pull the data they needed, and reports were unreliable.
Implementing an online open data and budgeting platform that complements their ERP system, while providing easy access to data, accurate reporting, and timely financial information.
About Pueblo County:
Located in north-central Colorado, Pueblo County celebrates a rich Hispanic heritage in its architecture, food, music, and art. Named one of “America’s Best Places to Live,” Pueblo County is home to a thriving community and a growing economy.
“OpenGov is very helpful in identifying where trends have been, and how to estimate future years. It allows us to see where we need to focus our financial energies.”
Aimee Tihonivich, Budget and Finance Director, Pueblo County, Colorado
Tell us why you were seeking a new solution.
Our legacy reporting system was very clunky, burdensome, and hard to use. Extracting information and converting spreadsheets into PowerPoint presentations was a lengthy, cumbersome process. Reports were unreliable. Department financial statements were difficult to understand, with multiple subtotals that made at-a-glance review next to impossible. It was very hard to even find the bottom line, and very hard to pull the big picture together.
What’s your world like now with OpenGov?
Since using OpenGov, we spend 75% less time on monthly reporting. Staff can now quickly dive into the details to find a specific answer without having to run report after report to get the information. We have better data from which to base initial department budgets. OpenGov is very helpful in identifying where trends have been, and how to estimate future years. It’s very quick to look at trends and make comparisons between line items and between departments to see where we need to focus our financial energies. It has helped department heads not only better understand their own financial statements, but it has also led them to be more interested in looking at the numbers and tracking their own budgets in real time.
How has OpenGov worked with your existing ERP?
It’s a very affordable enhancement of the ERP system, and it is a much better reporting process that makes it easier to explain difficult financial information to non-financial users. It’s a cost-effective way to leverage our ERP data for analysis.
Have you been able to better address a specific issue?
Yes. We have improved citizen engagement around a hot topic for the county- the controversial measure passed by Pueblo County voters allowing the selling and growing of medical and recreational marijuana. Pueblo County developed a taxing and fee structure around this industry; certain expectations for how this money is spent are assumed by the citizenry and, in some cases, mandated. The revenue and expenses related to this industry are spread among multiple funds and departments. Before OpenGov, it was a cumbersome process to answer the frequent questions coming from citizen groups and the press. Now, with a simple click of a mouse, a beautiful, up-to-date chart helps answer all the financial questions surrounding this industry in an easy-to-consume format.
How have people received the online open data transition?
Many officials are starting to run their own reports on OpenGov and are doing research on their own. It’s been rewarding to see this transformation.