Understand Palo Alto’s Financials with Open Budget
The City of Palo Alto working with a local start-up, Delphi Solutions, has released Open Budget, a tool that makes it easier for our community to understand and use our City's financial information. This new application is part of City Manager James Keene's vision for Palo Alto to become a leading digital city with open government as an essential foundation. The new tool can be accessed here: http://data.cityofpaloalto.org/openbudget. Explore our City’s financials here and provide feedback with the link at the top of the Open Budget home page.
Palo Alto’s new Open Budget tool provides easy, graphically-based views of five years of City’s financial information. Rich interactivity enables a leap forward from the current static budget document files posted online. Using a filtering menu, users can interact with the data and create charts of exactly the slice of financial information most useful to them. Customizable views can be exported as a graphic file for use in presentations and documents. Additionally, all views can be exported in a spreadsheet format so that further analysis can be performed on the data or it can be used to power new, independently created applications. Open Budget makes City financial data more understandable, accessible and valuable for a wide range of stakeholders. The version that goes live today is just a first step.
"Open Budget complements our recently deployed open data platform (http://data.cityofpaloalto.org) by creating a rich, visual experience for the complex process of interpreting municipal financial information," said Dr. Jonathan Reichental, Chief Information Officer. "We currently post a 350 page PDF document from which data extraction can be difficult. With Delphi’s visualization and analytical capabilities, the City’s financial data is now more useful and open for internal staff, citizens and software developers."
City Chief Financial Officer, Lalo Perez, who was instrumental in advocating and supporting a new way to use City financial information added, “We are excited with the initial results of making budget data available to our community and City staff in a form that is easier to consume and more actionable. It takes transparency and decision-making to a whole new level."