Danville adds ‘OpenGov’ online transparency services

Published 8:06 am Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Danville is touting the addition of “OpenGov” services on its city website, which allows anyone on the site to view financial information about how the city is spending and collecting money.

The website is now available at danvilleky.opengov.com or through the city’s website at danvilleky.org.

Currently, the website allows review of several years of Danville’s financial records — specifically, 2013-14, 2014-15 and the current fiscal year, 2017-18, as of Monday night.

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By clicking on different filters, viewers can see how much money the city has collected in different categories, as well as different breakdowns of how the money was spent. For example, the website shows Danville had almost $15.5 million in expenses in 2014-15, about $7.68 million of which (49.6 percent) was spent on personnel. Within the personnel category, viewers can see that about $4.8 million was spent on salaries and the remainder on benefits. Within the salaries category, viewers can see the breakdown among regular salaries, overtime pay and several other categories. Those categories break down even further, though the labeling becomes generic at that point.

The website includes relatively current data on the city’s financial activity — the most recent data available Monday night was for September 2017.

The city plans to add more and more data and expand the tools available on the website as time goes on, said Michele Gosser, chief financial officer for the city.

“I believe Danville’s provision of OpenGov to the public puts us in a relatively small number of cities in Kentucky that have done so thus far,” Danville City Manager Ron Scott said. “I think you can count them on one hand.”

Gosser said a couple of smaller cities in the state, including Edgewood, have implemented OpenGov services, as have a couple larger cities, including Covington. That big city in north Kentucky actually has a full staff for its OpenGov work; Danville doesn’t have the resources for that large an endeavor, she said.

“We’ll upgrade it and we’ll keep adding improvements to it and it’ll get more and more interactive,” Gosser said.

Scott said as more data is added to the website, it won’t be just Danville residents that will benefit from using it.

“It’s going to be increasingly useful to the city commission and to department heads to see how our departmental budgets are going,” Scott said. “It’s going to become a very useful tool within a very short period of time.”

A screenshot from the City of Danville’s new financial transparency website shows a breakdown of expenses in fiscal year 2017-18 through the end of September.