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County of Santa Cruz
Public Access to Financial Data

Background

Many government agencies have put financial data online in various forms. There has been a great initiative to make public funds more transparent. How much revenue has been collected, where did it come from, and how is it being spent are a few of the questions asked by constituents.

Some challenges to government agencies in moving toward greater online transparency include:

  • Making it available in a way that is accessible and easily understood;
  • Making sure that the data is accurate and consistent with internal financial systems;
  • Ensuring the data is easy to maintain and update; and,
  • Finding a solution where the cost to the tax payers is reasonable.

Making it Simpler

In February 2017, the Auditor-Controller’s Office debuted their new online Financial Search presenting data going back to fiscal year 2012/2013. It is unaudited financial data, but reflects budgeted and actual transactions that posted to the financial accounting system.

The County has an ongoing relationship with Simpler Systems, using datapps for budgeting, financial reporting, ad hoc research and also property tax data.It just made sense to use them to put their financial data online for the public.

Benefits of using Simpler for public access, among others, are:

  • The process is in place for automatic, scheduled updates;
  • The data has already been validated; and,
  • As existing Simpler customers, there is no additional charge for ongoing license, maintenance, or hosting.

You can access the site at the Auditor-Controller’s page on the County website, just click the link for EZ Gov Financial Search.

It also includes an Info page with links to the most requested financial data including:

  • Salaries by department
  • County revenues, general fund
  • County expenditures, general fund
  • Cannabis Business Tax Revenues

For more information you can contact the Auditor-Controller’s office at audonesolution@santacruzcounty.us or Simpler Systems at info@simplersystems.com