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For Immediate Release: 7/28/2014
Montgomery County Unveils First Stages of Financial Transparency Suite

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today unveiled the first stage of a “financial transparency suite” -- a new County website that is already being adopted as a model by other jurisdictions. The website focuses on the County budget and includes an electronic budget book and an interactive feature that will allow County residents and businesses to better understand and navigate the budget.

The website will be searchable, more user-friendly and accessible from mobile devices. Residents will be able to create their own analysis of County finances and develop charts or graphs that meet their needs. The electronic budget publication can be translated almost instantly into 90 different languages.

“A clear and transparent government has been one of the hallmarks of my administration and this website is yet another step in that direction,” said Leggett. “We’re excited to provide another tool for residents to engage and stay informed.”

For the past year, the County has been working with Socrata, the current provider of its open data website – dataMontgomery -- to develop a suite of tools that will empower residents with information regarding the budget, spending and procurement. The website was created through a development partnership between Socrata and the County.

“We’re so pleased to partner with Montgomery County as it continues to enhance and enrich all the data at its disposal on behalf of residents,” said Kevin Merritt, founder and CEO of Socrata. “The County clearly understands that government in the 21st century must achieve even greater transparency, operational efficiency and data-driven decision-making, fueled by better and broader access to its own data. This is how the innovative public sector becomes more than just a service dispensary and, instead, helps to provide increased connection and quality of life for constituents and communities.”

Future additions to the website will include spending and procurement data. During the website’s development, the County and Socrata sought resident feedback to ensure it fit their needs and was easy to use. Members of the civic and business community were also consulted throughout the development.

“It was great to be consulted during the development of a site like this,” said Brian Hooker, president, Randolph Civic Association. “The civic community will greatly benefit from this website and I think it will be a stronger site because of the collaborative approach the County has taken.”

The site is powered by raw data from dataMontgomery. The County has developed an Open Data Implementation Plan that includes 550 datasets. This summer, the Plan will be made available to the public for comment.

“Providing the County’s budget and financial information to residents on their terms, in their language, and on their time can help make us a more responsive and transparent government,” said Jennifer Hughes, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The Financial Transparency Suite developed by Montgomery County and Socrata has already been adopted by innovative governments such as the City of Boston. Several other jurisdictions are expected to follow suit.

The new website is online at http://budget.data.montgomerycountymd.gov and https://reports.data.montgomerycountymd.gov/omb

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Release ID: 14-296
Media Contact: Patrick Lacefield 240-777-6507

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