Unsupported Browser

We've detected an older browser version that will not give you the best experience while using The Atlas. Please consider revisitng this site after downloading one of the alternatives below.

ARPA Dashboard Tracks Budget and Spending in Syracuse's Priority Areas

City of Syracuse

Syracuse, NY

The City of Syracuse received $123 million in ARPA funding and was looking to manage and implement the funding with a data-driven framework. The city developed an ARPA Dashboard to increase transparency with residents and maintain project oversight and quality control for ARPA funded projects.

Topics Covered

Transparency
Process Improvement

Cost

Initial: Zero Upfront Cost

Funding

Federal grants

Project Status

Operational since 2022

Problem Addressed

The City of Syracuse received $123 million in ARPA funding and wanted to use the opportunity to foster better data practices throughout the City.

The City of Syracuse holds a vision to become a more data-driven city, but the process takes time, as does establishing a data-driven culture. 

The federal government passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to assist state and local governments in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The City of Syracuse received $123 million in ARPA funding and used the opportunity to foster and promote better data practices throughout the City.

In July 2021, the City established an ARPA governance group to ensure the City priortized a data-driven approach to implementing projects with this money. The Office of Accountability, Performance and Innovation (API) formed cross-departmental relationships with Finance, Budget, Communications and other city departments to begin the planning process.

The ARPA governance group provided an opportunity to centralize project management approaches and data tracking strategies for the many city departments that were previously operating in their own established silos. This also allowed for larger oversight on the various ARPA projects and established an organization-wide standard for departments across the City. 

Solutions Used

The City of Syracuse developed a public-facing ARPA dashboard to show how the City is managing ARPA funding.

The City of Syracuse adopted strategies to build a more data-driven culture, both in the local government organization and in the community at large. 

The API team conducted secondary research on how other cities like Baltimore, Boston and Denver were communicating transparently around federal funding management. They landed on a data dashboard for the City's public reporting approach.

The first page of the ARPA dashboard provides a high-level overview of the overall ARPA project and spending progress. It also shows overall progress and how much is budgeted and has been spent in four categories - Economy, Families, Government, and Infrastructure.

These categories were defined by the Mayor as the four main priority areas to focus the ARPA funding:

  • Investing in Jobs and Economic Recovery
  • Funding for Children, Families and Neighborhoods
  • Funding for Enhancing Government Response and Resilience
  • Funding for Transforming Infrastructure and Public Spaces

ARPA Project Submission and Approval Process

In order to standardize the ARPA project submission and approval process, the City uses project sheets that require the project manager(s) to clearly define the project, its purpose, expected milestones, outputs, and outcomes, as well as a timeline and an estimated line-item budget.

The ARPA team reviews the project sheets and holds meetings with the project managers to provide further justification of the project's impact. These meetings ensure that these projects have clearly defined objectives and that they can deliver on the promised milestones and outcomes. This review and approval process further ensures that the project teams have the necessary infrastructure in place to successfully implement the project, meet reporting guidelines and collect data relevant to the ARPA team.

The ARPA team also holds periodic project status meetings to help projects stay on track and adhere to the goals and milestones established in the project sheets. The status meetings and status reports keep the ARPA team and the city privy to the status of every project and any potential issues or delays.

Outcomes

1

Public-facing ARPA dashboard that includes all approved and proposed investments for ARPA spending.

2

Dedicated staff resources - the ARPA governance group and the Office of Accountability, Performance & Innovation - to program management and oversight.

3

Increased transparency with residents on how the city is spending ARPA funds in four key priority areas: economy, families, government and infrastructure.

4

Centralized project tracking between city departments, resulting in an organization-wide standard for project submissions and approvals.

Lessons Learned

1

Building a public facing dashboard is an iterative process that involves prototyping, user testing, and refinement.

2

It is a lot easier to get departments to participate in new data or project management practices when there is buy-in from the top of an organization.

Something Unique

This was a unique opportunity to introduce standardized project management and data practices to various departments throughout the City thanks to the ARPA funding.

Who Should Consider

Local governments looking to implement data-driven, evidence-based projects and increase transparency with residents on federal spending and oversight.

Government Project Team

  • Nicolas Diaz Amigo, Chief Innovation & Data Officer, City of Syracuse
  • Jennifer Tifft, Director of Strategic Initiatives, City of Syracuse
  • Samia Al-Fareh, Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives, City of Syracuse
  • Joe Gorsuch, Project Coordinator, City of Syracuse
  • Joanna Bailey, Data Analyst, City of Syracuse
  • Jordanna Coutihno, Innovation Designed, City of Syracuse
  • Jason Thomas, ARPA Data Analyst, City of Syracuse

Last Updated

Apr 29th, 2022
More Local Gov Case Studies from The Atlas Database
The Atlas case study database features examples of city projects – including both earth-moving projects and installed technologies – from around the world. You will not find proposed projects, or links to research studies and planning documents. There are 500+ member submitted case studies to browse - see related case studies to this one below:
Browse All Case Studies