This graph showing expenditures by function took about two minutes to find on the county's new digital budget book posted on Friday.
Ask anyone who has tried to write about government budgeting, and they’ll tell you it’s one of the hardest stories to get right.
So what chance does someone who isn’t immersed in the process have?
Maybe a better one with the launching of a new website-based digital budget book powered by ClearGov, launched by Douglas County on Friday.
“Digital Budget Book replaces static, cumbersome PDF budget books that were traditionally difficult for constituents to navigate and comprehend,” said Douglas County Chief of Staff Melissa Elges. “The agency’s annual budget is now presented online in an intuitive format with interactive graphs and tables designed to make complex financial data easy for anyone to understand. The new digital format is an outstanding effort and the result of a great deal of effort from the County’s Finance Department team.”
Douglas County is only one of four government agencies in Nevada to adopt the digital budget book format and is proud to have adopted this solution as part of their plan to be more transparent, promote community engagement and improve efficiency, said Chief Financial Officer Terri Willoughby.
“We strongly encourage constituents to visit their Digital Budget Book today to see their tax dollars at work," she said.
The site is mobile-friendly and ADA-optimized for constituents with disabilities who rely on assistive technology, such as screen readers and voice recognition software. In addition, the book’s format follows Government Finance Officers Association best practices, allowing Douglas County to easily qualify for the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.
“Douglas County believes that operating with transparency is the foundation of a strong government and fosters positive civic engagement,” Elges said. “This new website-based budget book allows constituents to see precisely how funds are generated and allocated, and better understand how the agency’s annual budget impacts the community programs and services they care about most. Visitors to the new interactive budget book can easily drill down by department and line item.”
In addition to the data being presented in easy-to-understand graphics, their Digital Budget Book also provides on-page sections for commentary where agency officials provide context and explanations for budget data.
“ClearGov is pleased to partner with Douglas County to create a modern, website-based budget book that’s easy to understand,” said ClearGov CEO Chris Bullock. “Constituents should be proud of the leadership Douglas County has demonstrated by embracing innovation and taking this essential next step toward true clarity and accountability in local government.”