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ClearGov Launches Cloud-Based Capital Budgeting Product

A new product could make it easier for municipalities to plan capital projects and budgeting. The product launch comes as an infrastructure bill makes its way through the federal government.

Workers digging in a hole on a street corner.
As local governments keep tabs on the federal infrastructure bill, a Massachusetts-based gov tech firm is aiming to help local officials keep better track of capital projects and proposals.

ClearGov has launched a cloud-based capital improvement planning product, Capital Budgeting. The software is designed so that local governments can have an efficient, web-based way to keep track of capital project proposals instead of relying on multiple Excel spreadsheets, said CEO Chris Bullock.

Capital requests typically involve various department heads and other government professionals sending in their proposals to a central authority within city hall. Those proposals, sometimes submitted on paper, then are put together via a process that Bullock described as laborious.

By contrast, the new ClearGov product aims to centralize the capital request process via a single digital platform through which participants can make use of web forms, budget projections, legal justifications and other tools.

“They can add pictures and attachments and put in other things like capital costs for the next five to 10 years, and add other things like operational costs, cost savings and revenue (projections),” Bullock said. “All of that is funneled into a dashboard so they can pick and choose what goes into the budget.”

The product launch represents one of the latest moves in the general technology space to replace paper processes with digital tools, and stems from previous ClearGov efforts to serve local government. As Bullock told it, the company already offered capital budgeting services in its previous digital budget management product, then decided to spin off this new product after hearing positive feedback from clients.

“Now it’s a much more robust product and can create multiple budgeting scenarios,” he said.

For instance, clients can use the tool to map out varying capital budgeting scenarios to analyze funding and revenue over multiple years, helping with the decision-making process for those larger projects, which often involve major, once-in-a-generation infrastructure projects.

Longer term, ClearGov aims to increase the integration of this new product with its other four products it now sells, which would enable such tasks as better capital project mapping and other efforts at budgeting transparency, he said.

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The timing would seem to favor the introduction of a digital tool for capital project planning, given the activity at the federal level.

“We’ve been planning this for about a year, and it started to become apparent that this is a perfect time for this product,” Bullock said. “There will be a tremendous amount of money flowing into local governments.”

ClearGov designed this tool for local government use as those entities typically rely more on relatively low-tech and inefficient solutions than do state governments.

“Local governments have been underserved for a very long time, and they are stuck with Excel,” said Matt Benati, ClearGov’s vice president of marketing.

Bullock said the company already has signed up about 100 clients for this new product and expects that number to increase to several hundred in the coming months. To use this product, those clients pay annual subscription fees based on the size of their budgets. The company offers seven pricing tiers. It also charges a one-time data onboarding and training fee.

ClearGov also is launching what Bullock called a “freemium” version of the tool, called Capital Budgeting Lite.

As the company tries to get uptake on those tools, ClearGov also is teaming with Edmunds GovTech — whose ERP software is used by some 2,000 local governments in the U.S. — so that clients of both companies can synchronize data across both platforms.

“Modern government budget solutions that increase efficiency and resident engagement are integral to our customers’ lasting success,” said Bob Edmunds, executive chairman of Edmunds GovTech, in a statement. “We are excited for Edmund GovTech customers to utilize ClearGov’s extensive suite of budgeting solutions, giving them even greater capabilities when it comes to preparing and implementing their annual budgets.”
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in New Orleans.
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