Tuolumne County Upgrades Its Processes With OpenGov

In this three-part series, see how Tuolumne County is optimizing its budgeting, permitting, and procurement processes with OpenGov’s cloud software suite. 


Budgeting & Planning
Permitting & Licensing

Eric Erhardt, Assistant County Administrator: “When I think about the legacy that I would like to leave behind when the community looks at Tuolumne County is, “Tuolumne County knows how to engage with us.”

Over the course of many years, I’ve been part of applying new software programs or new technology in different sectors of local government. Once we implemented Budgeting & Planning, which was surprisingly an easy process, myself and another analyst, my office were able to put our budget together within a couple of weeks.

We were coming from an older, outdated system that really wasn’t user-friendly. As we onboarded with OpenGov, and we were able to show and demonstrate the product to our staff, they were instantly intrigued.

We see people now, as they work through the budget, the budgeting process has gone much faster. It saves a tremendous amount of time. Everything is done in the system, where in years past, they would do the budget work, the numbers, in the system, but then they would have to submit different Word documents explaining their budget. Now, they have the ability to do that all in one place.

By using OpenGov’s platform, we were able to mirror our online digital book with the requirements of the GFOA award. We were able to submit that to GFOA, and we received our first award for fiscal year 21-22.

As a taxpayer, they can clearly see and understand at any level that they want, whether it’s just a high-level overview of where local funds are going, or if they really want to dig down into the information. OpenGov Budgeting has really allowed us to provide that information to our community.

Since day one of engaging with OpenGov, the communication back and forth has been fantastic. We’re four years into our contract, and the level of communication has not decreased. If anything, it’s increased. I can easily get people on the phone to help walk me through things if need be. They continue to reach out to us to engage with their customer to find out what it is that we truly need to become more efficient and more effective.”

Eric Erhardt, Assistant County Administrator: “Once we implemented budgeting and planning, which was surprisingly an easy process, and saw the benefits of that user-friendly interface with OpenGov, we started looking at some other processes that we were doing and looking, at that time, for a new permitting system.

As we know, there’s a housing crisis throughout the state, so we want to try and do as much as we can, no matter how little, to make that process more efficient as we move forward. What we’re hoping is to help streamline the permitting process for the community, for our local contractors. It was the product itself that really sold it, because they saw how easy it was to use the product and the time it was saving for them as well.

We’re a large community, rough 2500 square miles, and so, contractors live all throughout the community, and so they would have to drive down to submit their plans. Now, they’ll be able to do that from their home office. So, we’re trying to make it easier for our community and our local contractors to help make the building process more efficient.

I’ve seen ideas that we have presented be implemented in updates of OpenGov that have come out over the years. They’re not just listening; they’re actually taking that information back and they’re developing it into their product to fit the needs of everybody that they serve. I’ve really been pleased with the amount of engagement and the feedback I get from OpenGov as well. So, it’s just been a fantastic relationship.”

Eric Erhardt, Assistant County Administrator: “As we worked through that process and saw the benefits of that user-friendly interface with OpenGov, we started looking at some other processes we were doing. The other software platform that we just recently engaged with is our procurement process.

We were using Word documents and Excel documents to try to track those contracts, and it was really a somewhat cumbersome and outdated process. We wanted one system where everything can flow through, and, again, where the public can see those bids or make those bids online, and everything is completely transparent through that process. We’re seeing more engagement online, and more submittals coming now that we have this 100% online process for submitting RFPs.

Within the first day, all of our vendors had signed up on the new platform. I’ve had some conversations with some of them already, and they really like the ability to submit their proposals online. And now the tracking of the contracts is much more streamlined, because we get those notifications saying that this contract is up for renewal. The other nice part is those that bid on contracts or RFPs can go online and see where they’re at in the status. They can see everybody that’s applied, and so we don’t have to do as many responses to PRAs anymore. We can easily just direct them to the website and all the information they’re looking for is publicly available right there online for them.

The possibilities of information sharing going across the board so when we want to take information out of Procurement, or if we want to take information out of Budgeting and fold it into our reports or our Stories, through OpenGov, it allows us to bring that information together and paint that picture for the community on what’s happening at the local level.”

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