IVGID GM’s Corner: How can we make numbers more exciting?

If you read enough of these columns, you can tell that numbers are very exciting to me. You won't find any other contributors to this publication that tell you more than you ever wanted to know about wastewater flow data!

Every data point we generate tells us more about IVGID. It tells us more about how well we do things, what programs are most important to the community or how frequently our property owners are coming to town.

During my tenure, we've attempted to provide as much data as possible for the general public to not only view but to analyze and interpret as well.

Our Financial Transparency page — http://www.yourtahoeplace.com/ivgid/financial-transparency — includes six years worth of budgets, six years of audits, the District's five year summary of capital projects, our last 28 monthly financial reports, over 100 weeks of bill payments, as well as sixteen different links to our opengov.com data tool.

“While the survey was generally positive regarding IVGID’s communications efforts, there was far less satisfaction with how we informed property owners about IVGID finances.”

With opengov.com, you can review detailed information about every aspect of our budget and even develop your own customized reports. It includes all of our revenues and expenditures from the past two completed fiscal years. It provides up to date information on the current fiscal year. In addition, we've also released the proposed budget data for the upcoming 2017-2018 budget year as well.

For example, if you'd like to know how much we spent on services and supplies at the Championship Golf Course, it is fairly simple to drill down to this number on a monthly, annual, two, three or four year basis. You can also review all 47 subcategories for services and supplies and get information for each of the time periods noted in the previous sentence.

You get this same level of detail for every other revenue or expenditure type at the Champ Course. You can also do this for all of our venues and utilities or any subset of that group as well. And this data gets updated every month!

If you aren't interested into diving into the thousands of report permutations provided by opengov.com, the monthly financial reports provide a good snapshot of our performance. The annual budget provides a good annual summary of our budget and expenditures as well as our performance measures.

We realize that most stakeholders aren't interested in this level of detail. We've also been introducing some "Popular Reports" in an attempt to better communicate our financial information to the public.

The Community Survey that we discussed in the February 2 GM's Corner included an entire section on Communication. You can read the survey here: http://bit.ly/2kta32F.

While the survey was generally positive regarding IVGID's communications efforts, there was far less satisfaction with how we informed property owners about IVGID finances.

If any of you have suggestions for how we can make our finances easier to communicate, please email me at sjp@ivgid.org. Also feel free to send me links to any useful popular reports that you've seen for other public agencies.

Staff and the Board will be reviewing potential Popular Report formats in conjunction with this year's budget process.

Speaking of the budget process, we had our budget preparation kickoff meeting with the Board of Trustees on February 8 and released the draft budget on opengov.com the following week.

At the March 8 Board of Trustees Meeting, staff will be providing a detailed overview of the proposed Operating Budget for 2017-2018. The Board Packet (which is available online) will include summary budgets for each venue. And as I just noted, the detail for each budget is available on opengov.com.

In addition, our Controller, Lori Pommerenck will be giving an opengov.com tutorial at the March 8 meeting.

A detailed summary of the Capital Improvement Budget will be released the week of March 13. An overview of this budget will presented at the Board of Trustees Meeting on March 23. (Please note that this meeting will be held at 12 noon.)

The final draft of both the operating and capital budgets will be presented to the Board on April 12 and final budget approval is scheduled for May 24. Both of these dates are set in order to meet state mandated deadlines for submitting the draft and final budgets.

As you can see, we are trying to provide as many opportunities as possible for the public to learn more about our budget — both at Board of Trustees meetings and on our website. We look forward to receiving your feedback and participation.

"GM's Corner" is a recurring column from IVGID General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who discusses issues and offers updates regarding various district matters. He may be reached for comment at sjp@ivgid.org.


By Steve Pinkerton
Published: March 2, 2017
Source: Sierra Sun | IVGID GM’s Corner: How can we make numbers more exciting?