The Village of Lemont wanted to translate dense fiscal data into a more digestible, user-friendly format that taxpayers can easily access and understand.
Over the past several fiscal years, the Village of Lemont has experienced a shortfall in state shared and other revenue streams, making it difficult to invest in important capital improvement projects and fund core services like road repairs, equipment replacement, and more.
Educating residents about the growing gap between income and expenditures is essential to building consensus around next steps and identifying a consistent and reliable revenue stream to meet the Village’s growing list of obligations. Prior to launching the ClearGov Transparency center, citizens could view Lemont’s budget book online, but the documents were often lengthy and difficult for someone without a financial background to decipher.
Finance director, Christina Smith, says that while fiscal transparency has been part of the Village’s strategic plan for some time, they were looking for a clearer, more succinct way to share important fiscal insights with taxpayers. “We wanted the public to see at-a-glance not just how their tax dollars were being spent, but how the Village’s finances stacked up against similar-sized communities nearby.”
Smith says, “ClearGov gives Lemont residents an easy-to-understand visual snapshot of where we are financially so they don’t have to scour a 300-page budget book for the fiscal insights they need to make informed decisions.”
Now, as Lemont residents prepare to cast their votes on an upcoming non-home rule sales tax referendum, they’ll be able to head to the polls with a clearer picture of what’s at stake. Taxpayers can view top-level demographics, revenues, and expenditures right on the Village website, or click through to the ClearGov Transparency center where they can take a deeper dive.
Village administrators are using the ClearGov data too. Smith says, “the per capita breakdown per year of expenditures is awesome. In fact, the data on building permits and inspections has become a go-to source for our community and economic development director.” In time, Smith envisions more internal stakeholders will be leveraging the Transparency center to measure annual performance against goals.