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Tracking capital improvement project budgets improves reporting & transparency in Montgomery County

Montgomery County

Montgomery County, PA

A new capital improvement plan for Montgomery County, PA, included the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken. As the project progressed, County staff were able to transform their process to improve tracking, reporting, and transparency with residents using a cloud-based solution.

Topics Covered

Open Data
Transparency
Fiscal Uncertainty
Process Improvement

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2021

Problem Addressed

Montgomery County struggled to track budget revenues alongside expenditures and increase budget transparency with residents. 

As one of Pennsylvania’s historic, yet growing, counties, Montgomery suffered from aging infrastructure that needed to be renovated or rebuilt.

To ensure that the County’s buildings would be standing strong long into the future, Montgomery County’s leadership undertook a massive capital improvements plan titled, The Montgomery County Campus Redevelopment Plan.

The largest of the plan’s six projects included the construction of a new justice center that will be integrated with the existing County courthouse, the renovation of the current courthouse, and the expansion and redevelopment of an adjacent park. At an estimated cost of $415 million, and an expected timeline of five years, the justice center project was a massive undertaking.

Montgomery County already had hundreds of projects before including the new capital improvement plan projects. It was a challenge to effectively track budget revenues alongside project expenditures. Existing processes made it difficult to easily pull out budget information that could streamline project management processes. Plus, it was nearly impossible to balance internal priorities across departments without budget insight.

The complexity and high cost of the justice center project highlighted the need for a new tool to effectively track the County’s budget alongside project expenditures, as well as increase transparency with residents as to where the budget was being spent.

Solutions Used

Using a cloud-based, collaborative solution, Montgomery County improved budgetary tracking and increased transparency with County residents.

The County’s budget can now be viewed online anytime by the public and is broken down into categories like General Fund Budget and Capital Fund Budget Summary. County staff can lay out budget expenditures against budget revenues for easy analysis, making it easy for the team to prioritize and make a greater strategic impact. As the justice center projects get underway, the County can easily track its expenditures and share them with the community.

Along with improving budget tracking, it became clear the County also had an opportunity to increase budgetary transparency with the community. Montgomery County posts stories of the various capital improvement projects on its website as an effective way to share project highlights and update residents on the campus plan progress. The transparency helps them visualize how their tax dollars are bettering the community.

Each of the plan’s projects has its own page where details like project priority sit alongside renderings and expenditure and revenue budget tables. Curious residents can click through each project to learn the project’s justification as well as operating budget impact and any use of grant programs.

Finally, future tracking of ARPA funds, federal funding, and other capital improvement projects will be seamlessly integrated into the budget tracking, leading to better financial management and strategic impact.

Outcomes

1

The County increased trust with residents by increasing transparency and access to budget details

2

Staff will be able to better financially manage the project expenditures of new capital improvement projects as well as the County’s 200 other projects already in the pipeline

3

Campus plan progress is regularly updated on the County website, increasing transparency with residents who can track project expenditures and timelines

4

Montgomery County has a method to to effectively track future projects against the budget, streamlining future planning

Who Should Consider

Towns, cities, or counties searching for better ways to track the budget alongside capital improvement expenditures, federal funding, and other large projects.

Last Updated

Mar 25th, 2022

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