Modernize the budgeting process, and create an engaging digital budget book that puts the numbers front and center to demonstrate transparency and build community trust.
Wilson County, Tennessee traditionally used Excel and legacy systems to create their annual budget and budget book. Maynard recognized that there were too many possibilities for errors with manual data entry and reconciliation during a tedious and time-consuming process. The county also spent a lot of money having the budget book printed, but by the time the budget book came back from the printer it was already dated; they wanted a “live” book that wasn’t static.
Finally, Maynard wanted to get away from the small county mentality that sharing too much information could be detrimental. He wanted to find a way to share the county’s budget and promote full transparency and accountability. For the citizens who wanted to know where their tax dollars were going, he wanted to provide as much accurate and up-to-date information as possible.
The timing was right when Maynard discovered ClearGov, as the county’s financial systems had just been updated a few years earlier. He received approval from the county commission to adopt ClearGov’s Operational Budgeting and Digital Budget Book solutions right before the budgeting process started in February. Maynard needed help getting up to speed immediately, and the ClearGov team quickly onboarded the finance team and helped the county meet all budget deadlines. The county also leveraged ClearGov’s Transparency solution to communicate budget data to the public.
Maynard had previewed other budget presentation solutions and felt they had too much ‘fluff.’ He appreciated that with ClearGov the numbers stay front and center and residents don’t have to dig for the information they’re looking for. Previously, the county didn’t create a lot of charts and graphics for their budget book, so Maynard likes that ClearGov automatically generates them and he sees the value they provide residents in understanding financial data.
Maynard says that the ClearGov team has been very receptive to feedback about additional features and formatting the county would like to see, like highlighting the fund balance. The county looks forward to building their Transparency website next and plans to utilize it to communicate department performance metrics to demonstrate transparency and accountability to citizens.
As a fast growing county, Wilson is excited to start using ClearGov’s Capital Budgeting solution to communicate their capital improvement plan to the public. Maynard recognizes that the project pages the system automatically generates will be a valuable way to communicate project status and keep citizens apprised of how their tax dollars are being spent.