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City of Grand Rapids launches Open Budget site

Posted at 9:29 AM, Jul 14, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids announced on Wednesday the launch of its new online Open Budget/Data platform, which offers information related to the city’s expense and revenue budgets.

Currently, the site includes the city’s operating revenue and expenditure budgets for fiscal years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, according to a news release.

Visit the site here.

Open Budget is meant to present information “in an intuitive and visual manner.”

Interactive charts and graphs allow users to “dig down,” exploring how funds are allocated and spent across funds, departments, units and revenue sources or expense objects.

Programs and capital improvement project are slated for later this year.

Users can also access and download the raw data that powers the visualizations.

Molly Clarin, Grand Rapids’ chief financial officer, says the new technology allows the city to collaborate with the community on programs, work plans and budget submissions.

She said it is the first time the city has taken a deliberate approach to report out ongoing metrics to the broader community. Key performance indicators used to be reported out annually during the budget process.

“This past year, the community really voiced its desire for access to additional budget information beyond what is currently in the city’s fiscal plan,” Clarin said. “We responded by issuing a redesigned Citizen’s Guide to the City’s Finances – and easy-to-read, summarized version of the Annual Financial Report. We also heightened transparency with this easy-to-use site that provides users with information on operating revenues, operating expenses and the detailed expenses of our budget.”

Clarin added that Open Budget was designed to show the adopted budget versus the amended budget in a dynamic way using charts and graphs.

Visitors on their desktops, tablet and mobile devices can learn about government priorities and the impact on their lives and neighborhoods.

The next phase of the project will include building the Open Expenditures module, which will allow users to see the city’s expenditures by fund and department.

Users will be able to compare budget to actuals once this module is completed.