BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is the first in the state to utilize a new online financial application designed to make it easier for people to access the county budget. County Treasurer and Finance Director Wayne Lowry tells KBND News his department has spent the past month fine-tuning the cloud-based "Open Budget" application so information is presented in a user-friendly format. "Our budget in a PDF, 300 or 400 page document is out there on the web, always has been. It’s kind of hard to look through and to figure out what’s going on. This is a graphic representation, which makes it a lot easier. It’s interactive too, so you can drill down on different bars and charts and see the underlying information."
Lowry says the full 2015 budget is still available online, "We’re providing it as an additional method for citizens and other interested people to see our budget information. So, we’re trying it to see if this is useful for folks. This is kind of a trial." The county will pay $250 a month for the “Open Budget” platform. "When a citizen goes to our website, it actually goes to their [Socrata's] website, and looking at Deschutes County in our format," says Lowry. "It’s a general ledger and it’s a public record and it’s all a bunch of numbers. But, we want to make sure that the bunch of numbers show what’s happening in a logical format that people can understand."
According to the manufacturer, more than 50 public-sector organizations are now using the Socrata “Open Budget” platform. Deschutes County is, so far, the only agency in Oregon. To access Deschutes County's "Open Budget" information, click HERE