(TNS) -- Soon, residents of Cambria County will be able to track where their tax monies go.
On Thursday, the county commissioners approved a five-year contract with OpenGov Inc. for its Budget Builder and Intelligence software.
The program will cost the county $45,690 per year.
The exact software also is used by Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh and the District of Columbia, Eric DiProspero of OpenGov told the commissioners.
The program will allow county department heads to look at raw numbers in real time rather than relying on traditional spreadsheets and PDF downloadable files, reporter Jocelyn Brumbaugh wrote.
It also will allow the public to see, from their personal computers, where their tax dollars go and how the money is being spent.
“It brings the information to life,” DiProspero said.
County Controller Ed Cernic Jr. said his office has been researching the software for years. The system would streamline communications among row offices.
Cernic also mentioned that the program would require less staff and paperwork to respond to certain types of right-to-know requests.
Taxpayers and county government should both benefit from the software.
“This is one more step toward transparency in county government finances,” Cernic said. “We want to be able to make county finances as available to the public as we can.”
We have always encouraged all government entities to be more forthcoming on their income and expenses, especially when it involves taxpayers’ money.
Employees see too much of their hard-earned wages withheld for taxes without knowing whether the money is being spent wisely or foolishly.
Once Cernic’s office has the software installed, a link to real-time transactions in Cambria’s budget will be available on the county’s website.
Chief Clerk Michael Gelles said he is hopeful that previous budgets also can be uploaded to the website so elected officials and taxpayers can track trends in revenues and expenses.
Cambria County is taking a giant step forward by purchasing the software.
When the program is up and running, we encourage taxpayers to check out the website so they can see how funds are being allocated or worse, misappropriated.
Their input at budget time could be invaluable to county officers.
We urge other government agencies to consider purchasing the software.
The more empowered county residents are, the more engaged they will become in their governments’ operations.
©2017 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.