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Rio Blanco County, CO

Rio Blanco County Seal
Rio Blanco County

Primary Objective

To streamline the county’s manual, spreadsheet-based budgeting process by providing department heads with new technology that facilitates an easier and more accurate request process. And to improve transparency and communication with community members eager to participate in budgeting discussions.


The county’s challenge and subsequent search for a new budgeting solution were two-fold. They wanted to improve their internal budget creation process and their communication with the public.

Improving Processes

The County of Rio Blanco, Colorado had historically prepared its annual budget using multiple spreadsheets, forms, and other documents. All requests and data were manually entered into a six-workbook linked document. The finance team had to recreate budget documents and breakdowns every year, and as is the case with spreadsheets, there was always the risk of messing up formulas or links.

Budget requests were received from several department heads and then manually reentered, consolidated, and reconciled for accuracy by the finance team. Both the department heads and the finance team needed a way to streamline these manual tasks and work more efficiently.

“When working with CIP Budgets, it was a challenge to keep track of the proposed CIP projects that did not get funded that year and to forward them on to the next year. It was a lot of work for the budget department to communicate back to other departments which requests got funded and why,” said Eric Jaquez, Operations Administrator for Rio Blanco County.

Communicating with the Public

Rio Blanco is a conservative county that operates without debt. Like many local governments in recent years, the county had experienced shrinking revenues and therefore had to downsize expenditures. This can be concerning to the public, so they needed a better way to communicate this transparently with their community.

With their old budget book, residents couldn’t dive as deeply into the data. Itemized accounts were grouped together, so it was difficult to see what was being affected by the shift in revenue and expenditures.

The community wanted to be more involved in budgeting discussions so that they could understand how money was being spent. Combined with more sunshine laws making transparency mandatory, the county knew they needed a better communication tool to show residents that they’re being transparent with financials.

Being able to streamline our budgeting process and make it more efficient for all parties involved was one goal we were able to achieve by adopting ClearGov. The training and customer support has also been appreciated throughout this process.

Janae Stanworth,
Budget/Finance Director

Cleargov Solution

Through the county’s ARPA distribution, they were able to implement ClearGov without utilizing county tax revenue for 2022 – 2024.

This was the first budget cycle that the county completed using ClearGov. Department heads were supportive of looking at more automated ways to support current processes and were quick to adopt the software. Department heads said that they were able to get up and running with the basics of the software in under 20 minutes. They also appreciated how ClearGov standardized processes across the organization, which lessened the learning curve as new employees move in and out.

The team appreciates that access to everything in a cloud-based tool means departments and elected officials can access anything, at any time, from anywhere – this feature was especially helpful during the capital improvement planning process when department heads were able to add and view all data and supporting documentation for requests in one place. This was the first year they did not print anything to review during budget workshops, and commissioners liked the ease of using the digital budget book versus flipping through a huge hard-copy binder.

For the 2023 budget book, they were able to provide more detailed information than they ever have before and deliver it in a simple, engaging website-based format to further help the community understand it. The fact that ClearGov’s Digital Budget Book is automatically ADA-accessible is also a major win since there is currently a Bill in CO (House Bill 21-1110) that requires all online documentation to be ADA-accessible by 2024.

Next year, the county hopes to be able to start the budget process in June versus August and achieve a faster turnaround time. They are looking forward to being able to see historic data and have a starting point instead of relearning and recreating spreadsheets and graphs like in the past.

ClearGov enables organizations to standardize processes across departments so that budgeting and communication is easier, and the learning curve is lessened for new employees.

Eric Jaquez,
Operations Administrator (Operations Department)
May 5, 2023

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.

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