Clallam County launches budget transparency tool

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has launched a new software system to help the public, elected officials and staff make better sense of county finances.

The OpenGov platform consolidates complex financial data into an interactive, digital format that enables better analysis and understanding of the county budget, officials said in a Wednesday announcement.

The idea is to improve transparency and strategic planning by making it easy to explore how taxpayer money is collected and spent, county officials said.

To access the tool, go to http://clallamcountywa.opengov.com.

The OpenGov platform displays 10 years worth of county spending and revenue in a user-friendly portal.

Users can view historical trends and compare actual spending and revenue to the current budget.

County Administrator Jim Jones has said the system will provide financial information down to the level of individual transactions.

“Informed and engaged citizens are vital to our democracy,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said in a press release.

“Clallam County has taken a big step in this direction with the implementation of OpenGov, a powerful software tool that allows anybody to take a deep dive into county finances with ease. I encourage anyone who is interested, or who wants to better understand their county government, to check it out.”

Commissioners purchased the OpenGov software from Redwood City, Calif.-based OpenGov in March.

The cost of the software is $10,925 per year with a one-time startup fee of $2,700.

“I believe that the information system provided by OpenGov is a powerful tool to make the financial numbers available in the county understandable in a meaningful way,” Commissioner Randy Johnson said.

“The flexibility in the OpenGov format will allow individuals interested in the county’s finances and spending patterns to be updated and informed in a format of their choosing, which in turn can only provide a method for asking better questions and making better decisions.”

Financial data will be downloaded from the county’s internal system to the OpenGov platform every month, Jones has said.

OpenGov is being used by Clark and Thurston counties and the cities of Olympia and Redmond.

“I really appreciate the work the county staff have put into the information system,” Commissioner Bill Peach said.

“It is easy to use. Anyone that wants to know how county government is using your tax dollars can have their questions answered quickly using a computer. I support transparency and look forward to the discussions this new system will create.”


By: Rob Ollikainen
Published: July 7, 2017
Source: Peninsula Daily News | Clallam County launches budget transparency tool