Welcome to the City of Waltham's OpenGov!
In an effort to promote financial transparency and provide our local citizens with valuable financial data, we have taken the initiative to utilize a data vizualization platform called OpenGov. Over the past decade, the City of Waltham’s annual operating budget, capital improvement program and annual independent audit reports have been posted on the Auditor’s page of the City’s website to provide the general public a look into the City’s finances. Due to the nature of PDF documents, it hinders a user to truly interact with the data and delve deeper. Hence, the City is promoting OpenGov.
What is OpenGov?
OpenGov is a data visualization platform that enables municipalities to streamline and present its budget and financial data in a more meaningful manner. Integrating financial data with a data platform will provide users with an engaging and favorable experience when examining the financial information of the City of Waltham.
Click here to explore the City of Waltham Financial Transparency Portal. This link will open a new window and take you to the OpenGov website.
How can I use OpenGov?
OpenGov is an easy to use platform which requires little to no technical experience. Attached below is a snap shot of a typical report…
On the left hand side of the illustration one can see the Filters and Views column. This column is meant for the user to filter and sift through various channels of data.
- Show – The show drop down menu will allows a user to project Revenues, Expenses, and Revenues vs. Expenses.
- Broken Down By – This drop down menu will allow a user to dissect the Revenues or Expenses by Funds, Departments, and Type.
- Filtered By – “The Filtered By” drop down menu allows a user to further refine their search results to a more specific channel.
- Views – The views tab is a section which contains frequently asked questions which lead to visual answers. For example, a FAQ is “How much does the City spend on snow removal?” If one were to click on the question, it will lead them to a visual and interactive graphic.
On the right hand side of the illustration, one can see the Sort and Graph Options selectors. This section is meant to be able for the user to seamlessly shift through different representations of data.
- Graph Options – Here we are given 5 buttons in order to switch our view of the data.
The one far most left presents a Percentage Graph. The second one shifts the graph to a Stacked Graph. The middle option allows the user to shift into a Line Graph view. Then, into a Pie Chart. And lastly into a Bar Chart.
- Sort – The Sort function allows a user to categorize how they want the data to be portrayed. One can sort by A-Z, Chart of Accounts, Large to Small, or Small to Large.
Along the top bar of the illustration, one can see multiple options such as Download, Create Copy, and Share. This area is useful if the user aims to perform further analysis and has different options of doing so.
- Download – Here one can download the graphic as an image and/or the data as a spreadsheet. If one would like to run their own analysis on Excel or another platform, they can now easily download the data set from OpenGov and continue further.
- Create Copy – Here one could create a copy of the report for various reasons if need be.
- Share – The share button has been a popular tool in which many can share and send financial graphs and data to friends, family, or others who are interested in the financial health of the City.
Waltham Specific Tips
- Waltham uploads data only from its budgetary accounts
- Waltham’s main fund is its General Fund. Most of its revenues and expenditures come from that fund
- “Governmental Funds” consist of the General Fund and Special Revenue funds. The Parking Meters and Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds are the only special revenue funds included
- “Proprietary Funds” consist of Enterprise Funds which operate in a manner similar to a private business and provide services for a fee. Waltham maintains three enterprise funds: Water, Sewer, and Veteran’s Skating Rink
- Users can view historical financial data going back to FY2014 and budgeted financial data for the current fiscal year