Taxpayers in Cambria County will be able to see where their money is going with the click of a button.
Thursday morning, Cambria County Commissioners approved an agreement with the company OpenGov to create an online database of the county’s revenue, expenses and $160 million annual budget.
“I believe in transparency. I believe it’s taxpayer money and they have a right to know how it’s being spent,” said Ed Cernic Jr., the Cambria County Controller.
The five-year agreement will cost just under $230,000. The software will break down costs like office supplies and salaries in easy-to-understand charts and graphs. That information will then be posted online for anyone to see.
“Instead of just having a PDF or Excel spreadsheet out online, which is difficult to understand. It’s a lot of numbers. It brings the information to life, makes it more interactive,” said Eric DiProspero, a PA account executive for OpenGov.
The county will include data from the past 15-20 years to show trends. Officials hope the system will reduce the number of Right-to-Know requests because the information will be available to the public, with a few exceptions by state law.
“Information from the District Attorney’s office, some information from the sheriff’s office, HR office. Some of those things are restricted,” Cernic Jr. said.
The system will track changes daily, which will help the county monitor and cut back on overtime expenses.
“Everyday as expenses and revenues are coming in, this system will tell us what’s going on,” Cernic Jr. said.
In the 2015 fiscal year, the county finished in the red. In 2016, Cambria County finished in the black, or with a profit. This year is on track to finish in the black, as well. Officials said one of the county’s biggest expenses they are trying to cut back on is overtime.
County officials hope to have the Budget Builder website up-and-running by late October or November. Anyone will be able to access the information by visiting the county’s website.