County Launches New Budget Transparency Site

County Launches New Budget Transparency Site

Public schools operating budget information not included

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Montgomery County launched a new website Monday designed to give residents a detailed look at the county budget.

The budgetMontgomery website enables users to examine both the county’s current operating budget and its capital improvements budget. The operating budget is broken down by the type of department. For example, there’s public safety, transportation and general government.

You can then click on the department type to see details of the operating budgets of specific departments. If you click on Public Safety, you’ll see the amount dedicated to police ($274 million), fire and rescue ($225 million), corrections ($71 million), the sheriff’s office ($23.8 million) and more.

You can even see breakdowns of department expenditures. For example, police spend the largest portion of their budget on patrol services ($122 million), which gets broken down even further to salaries and wages ($76.8 million), retirement ($28 million) and group insurance ($9.66 million).

The website was developed by the county in partnership with Socrata, a Seattle-based tech firm, using the county’s dataMontgomery data sets.

The capital budget breakdown tool shows funding budgeted for specific projects such as school construction or road construction and maintenance.

Missing from the new website is a breakdown of the Montgomery County Public Schools’ operating budget. The school system accounts for more than 40 percent of the county’s annual operating budget, with about $2.1 billion budgeted to schools in the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2015.

Dan Hoffman, the chief innovation officer for the county, said the school system is a separate entity, “but the county is talking with school officials about having the system’s data published on dataMontgomery.

The school system has its own funding and transparency website where users can view the amount schools paid to vendors in a specific fiscal year.

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