Government isn’t often known for their transparency. But Morton County is implementing a new program, OpenGov, they hope will help their residents be better informed.
So what exactly is OpenGov?
Cody Schulz; Morton County Commissioner: “OpenGov is a web-based software platform that will allow our citizens and the general public to look at budgeting, information, revenue, financial transactions. You’ll actually be able to go online and see any transaction with a particular vendor, it’s searchable that way, or by category. If they want to see how much money we’re spending on public safety verses parks and recreation, that kind of data will be available.”
Mallory Wolf is a special education teacher in Mandan. On top of working full-time, there’s plenty else that keeps her busy.
Mallory Wolf; Mandan Middle School Teacher: “Keeping up with a 5 year-old, getting her to the activities that she’s starting, keeping a house running, making sure I take care of myself.”
Wolf says she’s interested in how money is spent in the county, especially how education money is divvied up.
Having a program like OpenGov, can make finding that information much easier.
Mallory Wolf; Mandan Middle School Teacher: “Well it’s just making it easier for individuals to see where the money is going. Seeing what projects are up, what they’re replacing, what they’re doing. And having it transparent and available, no one can ever say, ‘well I didn’t have access to it.’ Most people have that access on their phones, computers, tablets, and differenct things like that.”
Morton County is about 2,000 square miles, so that means for some residents, it’s about an hour drive to get to the courthouse if they want to request information. Now with OpenGov, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
Wolf says even though she isn’t extremely far from the courthouse, having instant access to this data at home makes her much more likely to see it.
Mallory Wolf; Mandan Middle School Teacher: “We are, I’d say a good 10 to 15 minutes.”
Cody Schulz; Morton County Commissioner:”We want them to be able to voice their opinions to us on how their money is spent.”
Schulz hopes this transparency will lead to better decision for the county. Program will be fully implemented by the beginning of July.