Encinitas Combats Civic Apathy with Data Transparency
City staff in Encinitas are taking significant steps to counter the trend known all too well to cities across the state. Responding to record low levels of civic engagement and general trust in local government, city staff embarked on a comprehensive communications plan with the goal to “harness technology to promote government transparency and increase citizen-centered education and dialogue.”
“You can be very transparent but if the perception is that you are not, then it doesn’t reflect well on the city,” says Enciniatas Finance Director Tim Nash. “If citizens can’t find the specific information they want—then they feel you aren’t being transparent.”
To remedy a lack of transparency and general engagement, Encinitas and the San Dieguito Water District became the first two governments in San Diego to launch elaborate online budget platforms.
Since adopting OpenGov’s financial transparency and data visualization platform, the city has not only demonstrated significant progress in educating residents and engaging key stakeholders, but has fully harnessed the tool’s capacity to boost internal efficiency – and in the process, saved a pretty penny.
“Internally, OpenGov has become a powerful tool for finance staff to get data to analyze for planning, forecasting and reporting,” said Nash. Although the city’s new ERP system includes reporting capabilities, “OpenGov provides a quicker way to get what you want because it’s easier for managers to drill down to get much more detail than the ERP system. With OpenGov, I can find anything I need very quickly.”
And don't forget - Register now for OpenGov's webinar, "Leading Local Government in the 21st Century," featuring Ft. Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman and Palo Alto City Manager James Keene.