City Council voted 4-1 to contract services to use OpenGov software—a cloud-based program that helps cities budget and plan while also keeping records easily accessible to the public. The program runs and can be accessed through a city's website, where it will be a database for city information.
Mayor Pro Tem Wanda Reetz said the program will also allow city staff to model budgetary options and will cut time researching information such as city salaries and progress on local projects.
OpenGov requires a deployment cost of about $24,000, while annual costs would be between $24,000-$28,000. The total cost for year one is estimated at $51,966, according to city documents.
The move comes before the start of the fiscal year 2020-21 budget planning cycle and while the city prepares to operate without longtime City Secretary RaeGene Greenough, who will retire later this year.
“I have been the mayor of the city for 10 years, and I don’t confidently understand out budget,” Mayor Rose Cardona said. “I think the more we produce the info outward for the public, the more input I think we get from our residents [in city business]. I think we have fallen behind the times on how we push information out, and there is no better time to do this than now, as we transition from [Greenough] to whoever replaces her.”
Cardona said she received written letters of support of the program by Greenough and City Administrator Sylvia Carrillo-Trevino.
Council Member Melissa Gonzales, who voted against entering a contract, said that because the city did not go out for bids for the technology, she felt the council was violating its own fiscal policy. She asked the council to delay the vote and do further research or to bring back other comparable programs.
“I don’t feel comfortable not getting a comparison [of similar products,]” she said. “I’m not opposed of a program like this, but I’m not comfortable moving forward yet.”
Council Member Rudi Rosengarten also initially asked to delay to vote to do further research but ultimately voted in favor of the motion.
“I’m trying to ascertain what I’m committing to,” Gonzales said. “To me, there are too many variables in my head, like how many hours of our staff do we need to run this program?”