City Launches Online Portal for Financial Info

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – By 2018, the public will have access to up to five years of financial data for the city of Youngstown, following today’s activation of its new digital platform.

The goal is pro provide “unprecedented access into our city’s finances,” Mayor John McNally said at this morning’s launch event.

“The platform is going to display years of government spending and revenue detail in a user-friendly way,” McNally said.

“Putting this information out there will enable citizens, hopefully, to answer some of the questions that they have for themselves instead of coming down and asking for somebody in finance,” he added.

The city has worked for a year with OpenGov Inc. on the site. The Redwood City, Calif., company provides similar online services to more than 800 governments and other public entities across the country, said Brian Chaney, senior account executive for the state of Ohio.

The city is paying $11,000 for startup costs and no more than $5,000 annually, McNally said.

OpenGov, founded in 2012, has 32 clients in Ohio, including Cleveland Heights and Dayton, and also works with the city of Pittsburgh.

“The state of Ohio is one of our fastest-growing states that we have,” Chaney remarked.

Visitors to the site can access various charts detailing the city’s budget. Links provide information related to frequently requested reports, such as how much the city spends on fire, police and road infrastructure, with breakdowns of individual funds.

“It’s not just for the individual citizen. It’s for the media, it’s for our staff folks, it’s for our council people so they can become better educated as well,” McNally said.

Several local governments and school districts utilize the OhioCheckbook.com website offered through the office of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, which allows individuals to track entities’ expenditures.

“When we started looking into this, I thought it was nice that you would be able to see every expenditure the city has,” McNally said. “I wanted to make sure we had revenues and expenditures to show where the resources are coming from.”

The data available on the site begin with the 2014 and most of 2015 budget years. The available information begins in 2014 because of a changeover in financial reporting systems by the city, McNally said. The platform will take until 2018 to be “fully functioning,” he pointed out.

“We’re doing a phased approach like we do with all of our partners,” OhioGov’s Chaney said. “This is the first iteration. It’s really important to view the OpenGov platform as an ever-evolving platform.”

The city’s checkbook will be incorporated into the site as well, along with information about salaries and grants awarded to by the city.

“I thought it was more important right off the bat to create a system that not only deals with expenditures but also deals with the revenue coming into the city that allows those expenditures to be made,” he said.

Pictured: Brian Chaney from OpenGov Inc. and Mayor John McNally.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.