About Ravalli County
The County of Ravalli, Montana is unique in that 73% of the land is owned by the United States government. Ravalli faces a limited resource base and is the third largest county in the state that PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) is paid by the government for federally-owned acres. Once reliant on agriculture and the timber industry, today Ravalli enjoys a vibrant tourist economy.
In 2010, Ravalli County cut their workforce by 14% (from 220 to 190 employees). The finance team had just three employees and was challenged by the manual, cumbersome budget process. Without resources to hire additional full-time employees, they needed to innovate and do more with less.
Ravalli County Chief Financial Officer, Klarryse Murphy, turned to OpenGov to reduce their manual workload and streamline the budget process.
Annual savings of one FTE ($70K)
Reduced costly errors with automated software
Cut budget completion time by over 30% (from 6 months to 4 months)
Self-service reporting reduced reliance on overworked finance staff and improved quality of recommendations and analysis.
Why did you choose OpenGov?
Nothing else came close to OpenGov. The networking among counties and cities showed us what we could do, and we were wowed. It only took a couple of meetings to sell it with everyone internally. A big selling point was that it supports transparency, and the cost over the five year contract is one FTE and it would save us the equivalent of one FTE a year! That’s huge for us.
“In all my years working in public accounting and government work, I’ve never had a contract that I got more out of than what I was told I would get. Usually you get disappointed with contracts, but OpenGov way exceeded my expectations.”
Klarryse Murphy, CFO, County of Ravalli, MT
What benefits have you seen by using OpenGov?
We’re seeing many benefits, including:
- Reduce Effort: We’re saving the equivalent of one FTE which is $70K annually including benefits and pay.
- Reduce Time: Budget preparation has been massively improved. We had a manual, time-consuming, error-prone process that produced static 20-page reports. Now it’s easy and automated, and only requires 2 pages to convey the same information.
- Eliminate Spreadsheets: Instead of having to track numerous spreadsheets, we can simply click and it’s all right there.
- Reduce Duration: We’ve saved over 30% of the time it used to take to compile our budget.
- Foster IT Upgrade: Because of OpenGov, we also upgraded from Internet Explorer to Chrome and now have a touch screen smart TV — OpenGov helped bring us into the 21st century!
How long does it take you to compile the budget now?
We’ve gone from a six month process down to four months ( >30% time savings!) in our first year and anticipate that we’ll see even more time savings and process efficiencies as we continue to use OpenGov.
How do your department heads feel about OpenGov?
They love it. Our most engaged department heads are our public safety, environmental health, treasurer, clerk & recorder, clerk of court, and information technology. They love the time savings. Once the budget is passed, they don’t have to remember the data. They can just click on OpenGov and find what they need. This means they no longer have to call me! We love the self-service and how easy it is to find the data we need.
Tell us about the implementation process.
The training only took about 10 minutes. And our OpenGov team has been so positive, always responsive to our needs, and they made me feel like we’re their only customer. When I ask a question or have a problem, they repeat it back to me to make sure they fully understand. I wish I could have worked with OpenGov 20 years ago. The team is very dedicated, and they make me feel special.
Do you view OpenGov as a strategic partner?
Yes. We’re in the trenches together building the budget. In all my years working in public accounting and government work, I’ve never had a contract that I got more out of than what I was told I would get. You usually get disappointed with contracts, but OpenGov way exceeded my expectations.
What’s next for Ravalli County?
We’re leveraging technology to benefit our citizens. All of our commissioner meetings are on camera now, and we plan to incorporate that into our website in the future. We’re completely modernizing our processes from end to end.
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