Cambria County, Pa., Opens Public Access to Financial Data

The county, in partnership with OpenGov, has published its financial data and other public records dating back to 2013 through its website.

by Jocelyn Brumbaugh, The Tribune-Democrat / May 11, 2018
Courtesy cambriacountypa.gov

(TNS) – EBENSBURG – Software allowing the general public to access Cambria County financial data and other records went live Thursday morning on the county’s website.

Kristine Segear, first deputy in the county controller’s office, gave a presentation during a regular county commissioners meeting Thursday detailing the software, listed under a link labeled “County Transparency” on the county’s website, www.cambriacountypa.gov.

Last fall, the commissioners approved a 5-year contract with OpenGov Inc. for its Budget Builder and Intelligence software at a rate of $45,690 per year.

OpenGov allows the public to access county reports in bar or pie graphs to analyze and compare raw numbers rather than digging through traditional spreadsheets.

“It’s very dynamic,” Segear said.

When the commissioners authorized the contract, Controller Ed Cernic Jr. said it was something his office had been looking into for some time to streamline communication between row offices and would likely eliminate staff time and paperwork for responses to right-to-know requests while providing more information to taxpayers.

Along with general finance information, the county’s website currently provides public access to reports on the county’s debts, property values, retirement system, outstanding checks and fatal overdoses.

The website also includes instruction on how to use OpenGov to search for specific information, an explanation of county funds and frequently asked questions.

Some data will be updated twice per year, while other documents will be updated monthly or weekly, Segear added.

Records currently uploaded to the software date back to 2013, but staff within the controller’s office are working to add data from 2011 to present.

“This is a work in progress,” said President Commissioner Tom Chernisky.

Segear said Allegheny County also uses OpenGov, which was one of several companies the controller’s office looked at working with.

“OpenGov fit the vision we wanted to move forward with,” she said.

©2018 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.