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Pasco County Enables Resident Engagement and Financial Transparency With Online Budget Book

Pasco County

Pasco County, FL

Pasco County’s traditional budgeting process wasn’t transparent and impacted its commitment to excellent citizen service. By publishing the budget online, the county enhanced transparency and was able to better serve the community through tracking financial data, while also winning GFOA's budget award.

Topics Covered

Open Data
Transparency
Process Improvement

Cost

Initial: Zero Upfront Cost

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2017

Problem Addressed

Pasco County, FL needed to revise its budgeting process to better serve its residents. 

The mission statement of Pasco County, “Serving our Community to Create a Better Future”, drives the county’s work to better serve its residents. In order to deliver excellent service to the community, the county needed to improve aspects of its performance as an organization, namely the way it published its budget.

Creating the annual budget is a task that requires hundreds of staff hours and the finished product serves several purposes as a financial plan, a policy document, an operations guide, and a communication device. The budget’s success is measured by two key indicators: 1) budget accuracy and 2) positive customer response. 

Budget accuracy tracks the number of processed budget amendments due to errors on the part of an OMB staff member. The county experienced a budget accuracy rate of 5% in 2015, missing its goal of 1%. Positive community response is measured through an annual resident survey, from which the county had a goal to receive a score of B+ for all survey questions.

The static nature of the budget document was inextricably linked to issues with budget accuracy and resident response. The document was unable to be updated throughout the year and it was too dense for residents and stakeholders to easily interpret. A severe lack of transparency was demonstrated in the resident survey response results.

The budget functions as one of the most important components of the county’s work each year. Pasco County wanted to overhaul how it was built and published in order to reduce budget accuracy errors and receive better responses from residents.

Solutions Used

Pasco County transformed its static budget into an effective tool for engaging with citizens and communicating financial data to stakeholders.

Pasco County built out an online budget book from OpenGov to better enable budget accuracy for its staff and to make the budget more interactive for residents.

The county wanted to incorporate additional budget data that had not previously been published in the budget so all county departments could access it. With better reporting and a more interactive, useful budget document, Pasco County was taking the steps needed to create a better future for its residents. 

Building out the budget online instead of the traditional process resulted in the quickest budget submission the county had ever performed. In addition to saving staff time assembling the budget, the budget book enabled staff to easily reference accurate and up-to-date financial data at any point throughout the year. 

Residents were able to access a wealth of budget information that had not been included in the traditionally published budget. Information like the status of capital funds and the financial impact of staffing changes was communicated and easily understood via charts and graphs.

The incorporation of the new online budget tool and process led Pasco County to win the 2017 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, and they have won every year since. 

“This award is a significant achievement for Pasco County,” said Pasco County Administrator Dan Biles. “One of the things that attracted me to Pasco County is its record of excellence in governing, and this award confirms this organization’s commitment to providing our neighbors with the best possible service.”

Outcomes

1

Increased budget transparency aims to improve Pasco County’s results on its annual resident survey measuring budget success indicators

2

Won GFOA's Budget Distinguished Budget Award six consecutive years

3

The county incorporated additional budget data that had not previously been published in the budget so all county departments could access it

4

Building out the budget online resulted in staff time and cost savings for the county

5

The county is making progress toward its goal of becoming a premier county with better reporting and more advanced methods of communicating data to residents

Who Should Consider

Local governments looking to take their budget online, while improving transparency, following GFOA's guidelines, and enhancing their government’s status.

Other Recognition

Winner, GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

May 2021

Winner, GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

May 2020

Winner, GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

May 2019

Winner, GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

May 2018

Winner, GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

May 2017

Government Project Team

  • Dan Biles, Pasco County Administrator
  • Heather Toner, Pasco County Budget Analyst

Last Updated

Apr 7th, 2022

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