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Cambria to spend $45K for financial software

EBENSBURG — Claiming new software will allow greater transparency for residents interested in county finances, Cambria County commissioners approved a $45,000 agreement Thursday for a company to provide “budget builder” and “intelligence” tools.

The unanimous decision at a morning meeting in the courthouse cemented a five-year deal with OpenGov Inc. — a company that provides cloud-based software for government to plan and upload budget information.

OpenGov representative Eric DiProspero was in attendance to show off work his company does with other area governments, including the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

OpenGov offers a product that allows governments to collaboratively build budgets and streamline internal efficiency while providing a transparent interface, which could help build trust with local residents, he said.

“We only work with governments, which is very important to us,” DiProspero said, noting his company has more than 1,600 customers.

On a projector screen, DiProspero displayed a number of graphs and charts, showing financial information from another Pennsylvania county. Eventually, similar graphics will be available in Cambria County, and residents will be able to access them via the internet, he said.

Different graphics are available to show revenue and expenditures, as well as taxes, fees and other financial data, DiProspero said, explaining links and images can be shared over numerous electronic platforms. A link to the Cambria County OpenGov website eventually will be available to the public.

“They can print it off, download it … look at it a couple different ways,” DiProspero said of financial information.

Easing public access to information could help alleviate time spent dealing with Right-To-Know requests for documents, Commissioner William “B.J.” Smith said.

County officials have been looking for similar software for several years, county Controller Ed Cernic said. OpenGov offered the best product out of several proposals, he said.

“We feel it does what we want it to do at a reasonable price,” Cernic said. “We want to be able to make county government finances as available as we can to the general public.”

However, some information, which cannot be disclosed by law, will not be viewable on the county’s OpenGov site, Cernic said.

“If the information is public information, why not release it?” he said.

Internally, OpenGov could help keep track of expenses, such as overtime pay, in real time, Cernic said.

“We can be able to watch those and identify those earlier than we could before,” he said, explaining early identification could allow for quick adjustments. “It’s a budgeting tool for (human resources).”

County officials said information will be updated daily, and in the future OpenGov programs will be used to help craft the county’s budget.

President Commissioner Tom Chernisky applauded OpenGov’s capabilities.

“It’s another tool to make it easier for the citizens,” he said.

Cernic said he hopes OpenGov products will be up and running in the county by the end of the year.

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.

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