Westminster is committed to financial transparency and responsible spending, communicated in clear terms. Want to know where the City gets its funding? Or how much was spent on water service last year? These and more questions can now be answered in our interactive Financial Transparency Portal, made in partnership with OpenGov.
The Portal gives instant access to current and historical budget and spending information, beginning with Fiscal Year 2014-15. Inquisitive users can create, analyze, and download graphs and reports on the City’s financial data. Or, use the "Views" on the left hand side of the OpenGov Portal screen to see answers to popular questions. For more information on City funds, or how to use the Portal, scroll down. If you'd like to go to the Portal please click here.
Disclaimer The City makes every effort to provide accurate information to the Portal. However, some information may not be 100% accurate due to uploading, coding, human, or other error. All data is subject to change until annual audits are completed by an external auditor. Audited information can be found in the City’s CAFR, available here on the City’s website. The City of Westminster assumes no responsibility arising from use of information obtained through the Portal.
TIPS ON HOW TO USE THE FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY PORTAL
The Portal allows you to explore the General Fund and Water Enterprise Fund budgets and historical finances in a simple, graphical user interface.
There are several different types of visual representations of the data – area graphs, line graphs, pie charts, etc. You can change the graphic at any time by selecting the different option icons near the top right of the page. The data will automatically convert.
Most graphs are interactive, and you can hover or click on them for more information. You can also use the slider at the bottom of a graph to change years, if applicable.
To see answers to some common questions, use the "Views" menu, located on the left, next to "Filters" in the Portal. Click on each View to see a graphic corresponding with its title.
To focus on specific data – like a fund, department, expense type, or any combination – look to the left and use the “Filters” menu on the side panel. The selectors allow you to specify exactly what you want the graph or table to show. When you select “Filtered By” the data filter pops up and allows you to turn-on or turn-off selected filters for that category – funds, departments, expense type. Remember, each time you turn a filter on or off, the resulting graph has been tailored to your specifications, and no longer corresponds to a View title.
You can download the data into a .csv spreadsheet or a .png image using the “Download” drop-down menu in the top right corner. You can also share the data on a social network or by email by using the “Share” drop-down in the top right corner.
A visual user guide can be found here, or in the portal.
A FEW THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CITY FUNDS
The General Fund is the main operating fund of the City. It supports essential services such as public safety, community services, and administration; and is primarily funded by property taxes, sales taxes, and the utility users’ tax.
An Enterprise Fund is used to account for activities that receive significant support from fees and charges for service. An Enterprise Fund must be kept distinct from other funds, and can only be used to support delivery of that specific service. Westminster has a Water Enterprise Fund to provide water service within its jurisdiction.
Other Funds such as Special Revenue Funds and Capital Project Funds are not included in the Portal at this time. These funds are restricted for distinct purposes, and are often State or Federal subventions. As such, the City has little to no discretionary power over how to use the money. Internal Service Funds have also been excluded for clarity, as these funds account for goods or services delivered between City departments, or to other governments, on a cost reimbursement basis. If you want to know more about these funds, they can be found in the City's adopted budgets and CAFRs here.
Note that some expenditures or revenues do not appear in every year. For example, there may be an expenditure for a specific project in one year that does not recur in later years, or a type of funding that was eliminated. State-mandated and internal accounting practices change over time as well, which can modify how revenues or expenditures are reported. Notes, indicated with the small note icon and shown on the right side of the Portal pages, have been inserted to help the reader understand why some changes or anomalies have occurred.
HAVE A SUGGESTION?
We want your input! Please let us know how we can make the Portal better. If you are confused by data or labels, or have an idea for a new View, use the "Help" menu in the top right corner and send us your comments. We will do our best to make sure the Portal is as user-friendly as possible.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT OPENGOV?
Governments around the country use OpenGov to create custom reports, keep administrators and legislators informed, and share important financial information with the community. You can learn more about them on their webpage, OpenGov.com.