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City Manager's Office

Posted on: September 11, 2017

Local Government Finance Doesn't Have To Be A Mystery Box - Meet OpenGov Fiscal Transparency

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OpenGov Fiscal Transparency Portal

With the OpenGov Fiscal Transparency Portal on the Town's website, you can take a look at the Town's financial picture in graphic form from 2008 forward. 

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You can interact with each year's budget and drill down to some finite data. But in the big picture, you can graphically see what and how the Town's Departmental budgets change year over year. For example, you can see that in FY 2007/08, the Police Department budget represented 39% of the Town's overall budget whereas in FY 2015/16, the Department represented 40%. Administration in FY 2007/08 represented 5% of the Town's overall budget whereas in FY 2015/16, the Department represents 4.5%.

So what Department DID increase from FY 2007/08 to FY 2015/16? That would be Public Works.

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In FY 2007/08, Public Works represented 15.66% of the budget - approximately $2 million. Of that total, in FY 2007/08, the Town spent very little of that on actual projects. Moving forward to FY 2015/16, the Town spent $3 million on Public Works and $2.5 million of that number was spent on actual projects - the remainder of the Marsh Road Reconstruction Project, Street Patching & Overlays, Series Street Light Project, Road Reconstruction Projects, Bicycle Lanes, Park Master Plan, Drainage Projects, El Camino Real Improvements, and the Hawk Beacon on El Camino Real. Most of the budget in FY 2015/16 was spent on Public Works Projects in the field. 

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With OpenGov Portal, you can even drill down by Project, Department or even a specific Fund Type (Library, Gas Tax, General Fund, Parcel Tax, etc.). Under the "Views" option on the left, you'll find some pre-sets for questions such as - 
And remember, you can drill down into any of the views for more detail. You can filter views, as mentioned above, by specific Fund. The two most important Funds for the Town are its General Fund and the Special Parcel Tax Fund. The General Fund is the primary revenue fund for the Town. The General Fund is the recipient of basic property taxes, charges for service, franchise fees, sales tax, permits and license fees, intergovernmental revenues, and fines and forfeitures. It is the fund from which the Town's primary operating costs are borne. 

The Special Parcel Tax Fund bears the brunt of the Town's expenses related to Capital Projects (streets and drainage) as well as a portion of the Town's Police Services. For more detail on the Town's Special Parcel Tax, visit the webpage that provides a history of the Fund, what it's used for, and how it is collected. 

Want more info or details? Need help navigating the Fiscal Transparency Portal? Feel free to give us a call or drop us an email - either to me or Robert Barron, Finance Director

George Rodericks
City Manager
(650) 752-0500

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