El Campo, TX
Modernize and automate the manual, tedious and error-prone budgeting process, collaborate with department heads in real-time, and digitize cumbersome quarterly reports for councilmembers.
The department heads of El Campo, Texas historically entered their budgets into Excel, resulting in countless hours reconciling and checking for errors. Additionally, the finance department created quarterly infographic reports for council members that were difficult and time-consuming to build.
While the city’s budget book consistently receives GFOA awards, they wanted to modernize the budget book creation process and produce an even stronger document.
City Manager, Courtney Sladek wanted a better way to budget. They previously used another transparency software solution, but it required manual manipulation of data before the transparency site could be updated and was not ideal for making capital projects visible to citizens on the website. Sladek lamented that you “needed to have a Masters in Computer Science to use it.”
Ultimately, she wanted a solution that allowed department heads to enter their own data directly — to skip the back and forth emails, multiple Excel spreadsheets, and manual consolidation. She also recognized the need to save time by digitizing and automating the quarterly reports for council members. Finally, she wanted to streamline the budget book process and potentially create an even better award-winning document.
El Campo began using ClearGov’s Transparency, Operational Budgeting, and Digital Budget Book solutions this year, and has completely modernized their budgeting process. Now, department heads enter their own data into the Operational Budgeting system. This enables real-time collaboration and eliminates the back and forth emails, manual consolidation, and tedious reconciliation.
The department dashboards automatically generated on the Transparency page took the place of the quarterly reports for council members. This has made it easier for them to review, and they appreciate how the accompanying visuals and graphics make the financial data easy to understand.
Capital requests from department heads are automatically turned into project pages that the city adds to their Transparency page, making capital projects more visible. Now citizens can see when projects are scheduled, who’s in charge, and where the funding is coming from. The pages include pictures, timelines, maps, and other pertinent information so citizens have everything in one place. The city has streamlined so much of the process that they’re now working on a 5-year capital plan.
Best of all for a smaller municipality, updating data on their Transparency page is a breeze with ClearGov – they just send the report from the financial system to ClearGov. There’s no data manipulation like with their previous vendor. The once manual and error-prone process has been improved significantly. Notably, the city reduced its annual budgeting process by more than 70 hours.