REGISTER NOW: Don’t Miss Our Next Webinar!
City Of

Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

Fair Oaks Ranch TX
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

★ GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Winner ★


Adopt a modern budgeting solution that meets the specific needs of smaller municipalities, while fostering improved collaboration, accountability, and transparency, all through a user-friendly interface.

I would say that now that we have ClearGov, I look forward to budget season! Our budget process was just ‘ok.’ It was functioning, but it was messy. We like how user-friendly ClearGov is. It creates buy-in from our staff, ownership, and accountability, and it makes the budgeting process go so much more smoothly.

Julie Lovelace,
Accounting Manager


As a small city with just 84 employees, Fair Oaks Ranch struggled with its ‘messy’ budgeting process. While city employees consider themselves a family, there was discontent from department heads who felt as if they weren’t always heard during the budgeting process.

This was largely due to the city’s Excel spreadsheet-based budgeting process and manual collection of requests that department heads submitted verbally, via email, or even as written notes. So it was no surprise that things were getting lost and forgotten in the budget shuffle.

The manual process required significant reconciliation to make sure no data or requests were lost, which naturally added a lot of time and work to a staff that was already strapped for resources. “It made it tedious, and it made it frustrating,” according to city accounting manager, Julie Lovelace.

The city knew there had to be a better way. They wanted to make sure department heads felt heard and that no requests were missed during the process, so they began the search for a modern budgeting software solution.


The city found ClearGov through talking to other municipalities and gathering information about software companies that offered budgeting tools. They landed on ClearGov for its user-friendly interface, and most importantly, its ability to better involve department heads in the process.

While there was some initial hesitation adopting the software because of a, “we’ve always done it this way” mentality, once staff saw what ClearGov could do, it was easy from there.

The city’s favorite part of ClearGov is its ease of use. Even department heads without a lot of financial or computer literacy had no problem navigating the system, understanding where to submit requests, and how to leave notes and edit items.

The city also enjoys using Capital Budgeting for collecting requests and Transparency for sharing the city’s capital plan with residents. The software’s output capabilities even means that staff who still prefer to view data in Excel can download files from ClearGov and add the data to a spreadsheet. The icing on the cake is the ability to automatically create a digital budget book, which is important as the city submits its budget book to the GFOA for award consideration every year.

When it comes to collaboration, the city appreciates that everything is in one central location. Access control allows department heads and their subordinates to view only the data they need to generate more accurate requests. Supporting documentation is attached to each request, and an automatic audit trail makes it easy to track changes so there’s never a question of who did what or when.

Department heads and staff alike have fully embraced ClearGov and really enjoy using the system. They understand how ClearGov gives them the ability to contribute to the budget, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are met.

Looking ahead, the city recognizes the long-term benefits of using their Transparency portal to communicate with residents and help them understand bonds and capital budget decisions. Julie said ClearGov has been a really great tool when it comes to having easy-to-understand and easy-to-share financial information “right at your fingertips.”

Julie said the hours saved since implementing ClearGov are “immeasurable” due to eliminating meetings, manual data entry, and countless hours of reconciliation.

ClearGov does a beautiful job of showing you all the GFOA award requirements and letting you know if you have met them as you’re going through the budget document. We have submitted our budget book for award consideration three times using ClearGov, and we have won all three times.

Julie Lovelace,
Accounting Manager
April 15, 2024

Matt Benati

Matt Benati is Vice President of Marketing for ClearGov®, the leading provider of Budget Cycle Management software for local governments. Matt is passionate about helping organizations modernize their annual budgeting process by automating workflow, increasing collaboration, and improving transparency between governments and citizens.