Have you ever wondered, where City revenue comes from? Or, as a Salida utility customer, how do the service fees you pay each month to compare to operating expenses of the Water and Wastewater Funds? As of September 14, the answer to these and other frequently asked questions are right at your fingertips.
The City of Salida Finance Department has just introduced a new page on the city website called “Open Salida”. On it, you’ll find the answers to eight of the most frequently asked questions about City finances. You can look at how actual revenues and expenses are tracking against the 2021 budget. With the 2022 budget currently being developed, you can examine it as well, as it heads toward a public hearing and scheduled adoption by Council on October 19.
The platform that drives all this is called “OpenGov”; widely used by municipalities and county governments. In addition to being the budgeting tool, OpenGov also provides “LIVE” updates with graphical reports of data pulled directly from the City’s accounting system. You can take a big picture look or dive deeply, drilling into specific funds or accounts, as you wish. Tips on how to get started and ways to navigate are all right there in “Open Salida”.
The information you’ll have at your fingertips will be the same information that department heads, the Finance team, the Treasurer, City Council, and the Mayor have, whenever you want to look something up.
“We hope this will provide an easy mechanism for exploring City finances,” explained Director of Finance, Aimee Tihonovich. “With a little practice, any curious citizen can navigate the views to hone in on financial information of most interest. Of course, the staff is always happy to help navigate the numbers and can create additional views to help answer other questions. The page will be updated periodically as new popular financial questions are identified.”
“The 2022 proposed budget is a work in progress. It is slated to be adopted on October 19 after a budget public hearing. Preparing a complete, transparent budget document takes time and we will likely not have the final, adopted budget complete until the end of January 2022 (the state requires that the budget document be filed with them by January 31),” she added.
In terms of what might interest the public the most, Tihonovich explained “I would guess that the views for sales tax trends might be of most interest to viewers (the “what is the trend for city sales tax collections” question) or perhaps the question “where does the City Revenue come from/” question may be equally popular.”
For any specific questions about City Finances, readers may also contact Aimee Tihonovich, Director of Finance via email to: email@example.com or Merrell Bergin, City Treasurer (firstname.lastname@example.org).