Buena Vista, COCHAFFEE COUNTY
To better involve all departments in the budgeting process, get away from the manual approach of using multiple spreadsheets, and move to a single cloud-based system for the entire budget.
Town Administrator Phillip Puckett and Town Treasurer Michelle Stoke previously managed the Town of Buena Vista, Colorado’s budget manually with multiple spreadsheets. They wanted to get away from the manual approach, calculation errors, and all the challenges associated with spreadsheets. They also wanted to better involve other departments in the budgeting process in a more collaborative way – eliminating the use of email and disparate spreadsheets.
Additionally, the town takes personnel budgeting seriously to ensure their wages are competitive. They participate in an annual statewide survey and use the data to manage a separate in-depth personnel analysis spreadsheet. This allows them to track wages and create scenarios about how current and future staffing affects other parts of the budget. While the process and data are incredibly insightful, they’re cumbersome to manage and don’t integrate with the town’s operational and capital budgets. Puckett and Stoke wanted a solution that would support the entire budget in one place.
Previously, the town used a different provider for a transparency portal, but the tool was limited to showing financial and budget data on their website. It did not offer a solution for the town’s internal budgeting process.
After 18 years at IBM designing and developing apps to manage large organizational budgets, Puckett knew there had to be a better way to manage the town’s budgeting process. He knew the use of spreadsheets was holding his town back from reaching new levels of efficiency, insight, and transparency.
The town of Buena Vista chose ClearGov for the added value of the cloud-based budgeting and website-based budget book solutions that complemented the transparency portal. The town completed one budget cycle, created their first digital budget book, and delivered a website for residents using Operational Budgeting, Digital Budget Book, and Transparency, respectively.
Not only did ClearGov Operational Budgeting improve the town’s internal budgeting process, but the interactive Digital Budget Book solution and ability to easily populate the budget book with images, graphs, narratives, and other rich digital content made it more meaningful to the public and elected officials. Because transparency is very important to the government, they wanted the public to have easy access to their financial data. The combination of the ClearGov budgeting products and the Transparency solution deliver real value for Buena Vista and further supports the government’s commitment to fiscal transparency.
Town Treasurer, Michelle Stoke, did an impressive job leading the project of transitioning the budget and department heads from spreadsheets to ClearGov. This is also a testament to ClearGov’s ease of use and excellent support. The town had a very positive experience with the ClearGov team and its responsiveness to requests during the onboarding process.
With an eye to the future, the town has already purchased Capital Budgeting and Personnel Budgeting, to easily create multi-year, multi-scenario budgets that show how every aspect of the budget is connected. These scenario and forecasting features will make it clear how staffing and capital requests affect the future budget, and will help the town make informed, data-driven decisions.