Plattsburgh working to become more transparent with its finances

Local News

The City of Plattsburgh is in the early stages of making it easier for you to look over its financial records. At the same time, the Lake City is working its way through its 2020 budget. Mayor Colin Read’s budget proposal from back in August included a surplus of nearly $500,000, and various city departments are now presenting their own individual financial pictures to the Common Council.

On Thursday, it was the Plattsburgh Public Library’s and the Building Inspector’s Office’s turns to do so. The Building Inspector’s budget could shrink by more than 5% because of a retiring employee. The library director told the council members they’re working with bare-bones finances. The budget hearings continue through Thursday, November 14th.

Meanwhile, the Lake City is in the process of implementing a new piece of cloud-based records software. The Press-Republican reports the city has signed a seven-year, $126,000 contract with a California company named OpenGov. The city will also pay a one-time, $4,000 startup fee.

OpenGov is expected to be able to store all of the city’s financial data in a single place, allow city staff to update that information in real time and allow anyone to look at it. Staff won’t actually be able to form department budgets within the software, though.

Mayor Read declined to speak with us on camera for this story. However, he told the council members during open session that an intern is helping integrate OpenGov with the city’s current budgeting software. He also said some departments are getting interested in using OpenGov.

Read has told the Press-Republican he hopes the city can at least partially roll it out by the end of this year.

Two years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that OpenGov was partly owned by a venture capital firm whose board of directors once included Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. At the time of the article, Kushner’s brother, Joshua Kushner, was running that firm. There’s no indication if the firm still owns part of OpenGov today.

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