Tega Cay, SC
★ GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Winner ★
The City of Tega Cay, South Carolina wanted to centralize budget data and modernize its manual, outdated budget book process. Their goal was to produce an ADA-accessible and GFOA-optimized document that council members and residents would read and easily understand.
Year after year, City Manager, Charlie Funderburk, spent many hours toiling with Microsoft Word, Excel, and paper financial spreadsheets to create their required annual budget books. The process was highly manual, with assets stored in multiple locations. The budget books were posted to the city’s website as static PDF documents, but were rarely read.
While the PDF budget books contained all of the necessary financial data, it was questionable whether they met GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association) requirements or were accessible to all residents per the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines.
Because Tega Cay is a lake town surrounded by South Carolina’s beautiful Lake Wylie, there is a strong emphasis on outdoor and recreational opportunities and the city departments that support it: Public Safety and Parks & Recreation. Funderburk wanted the city’s department heads to make data-driven decisions to support future projects, particularly in these areas that are so visible and important to residents.
While all of the data was available in previous years’ digital and paper files, it was not easy to compile and compare because department heads had to spend time pulling data from multiple sources. Funderburk wanted to centralize budget data so that they could easily view multiple years’ worth of data and forecast for future projects.
Funderburk remembers receiving an email from ClearGov about the new Digital Budget Book solution. “We signed up for the demo, and done!” recalls Funderburk about the must-have tool. For the implementation process, Funderburk worked closely with his dedicated ClearGov Client Success Manager to provide the necessary data. After that, ClearGov did all of the heavy lifting to get them up and running. “It was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done, without a doubt,” said Funderburk of the onboarding process.
The result is that the city of Tega Cay now has three years of budget data housed in one cloud-based location. The finance director and department heads no longer have to search multiple places and files to review data and forecast budgets.
Because the city worked with ClearGov upfront to ensure the data was organized in a meaningful way, department heads can now see in-depth details around their specific budgets, as well as past and future projects. A request for a report that used to take several days is now delivered in minutes. Particularly for the Public Safety and Parks & Recreation departments, seeing these details and the data graphically “Paints a really helpful, precise picture,” said Funderburk, which ultimately allows department heads to make more data-driven decisions about projects.
The City of Tega Cay’s new ClearGov website-based budget book is easy to navigate and understand for both residents and city council members. While Funderburk is still awaiting feedback from the community, council members are already “head over heels” with the improvement. One example cited was the city’s bond debt. With their previous reporting system, it was difficult to quickly find the breakdown of debt. The detailed data is now in the Digital Budget Book on a single tab, at-a-glance, and available in multiple visual formats so that everyone can understand it.