ClearGov Launches Budget Portals, Comparison Tools for Every Municipality in the U.S.

The startup has gone nationwide.

by / May 24, 2017
ClearGov's data portal for the city of Syracuse, Neb. ClearGov now has similar portals for 36,000 municipalities across the country. Screenshot/ClearGov

After initially rolling out spending portals and comparison tools in selected states, ClearGov has now taken its services nationwide — nigh-comprehensively.

“We have built transparency profiles for every city, town, village, borough, etc., in the country,” ClearGov CEO Chris Bullock told Government Technology via email.

ClearGov now boasts 36,000 municipal data portals across all 50 states. The company’s business strategy is to use available data, gathered through open data portals as well as Freedom of Information Act requests, to build the portals and then sell them to the communities they represent along with other services and functionality.

The portals put city information like revenues, expenditures and debt alongside contextual information such as demographics and income. The company has also built algorithms to find jurisdictions that are similar to each other so that local governments can compare their data to peers.

“Our residents have a strong desire for transparency and our old way of doing things — flat budgets in PDFs and spreadsheets just did not meet their needs,” said Chris Bradbury, village administrator of Rye Brook, N.Y., in a press release. “After a quick and easy implementation, we were able to present our budget numbers in a way that everyone can follow and appreciate, which really enhanced the value of our presentation to the public.”

Bullock says the comprehensive data-gathering presents opportunities not just for individual governments to gain insights, but also for the country as a whole to learn more about its cities.

“The breadth and scope of the ClearGov Insights national database opens up new opportunities for research and sharing of best practices across governments,” Bullock said in the statement.

The move is the latest in a flurry of activity for ClearGov. In January, ClearGov launched an open checkbook addition to its core offerings. Last month the company debuted a new version of its portal tooled toward school districts instead of municipalities. In March, it closed a $1.2 million seed funding round.