Better late than never – the 2015-2016 proposed budget for the City of Asheville, NC is up at avlbudget.org.
The site is similar to last year’s (which you can still find here), but with a few improvements:
- The year-over-year change chart on the What’s New? page has been updated and also has a table version with full details available.
- The treemap visualization on the Show Me The Money page goes all the way down to the account level.
- The tables and visualizations use the same service area organization as the City’s budget document
- The resources page (Budget Doc Breakdown) includes all sections of the document, as well as a link to a searchable PDF.
- The site is easier to embed in other websites – just add “?embedded=true” to the end of any page URL
However, the biggest changes aren’t visible.
First, unlike last year, this site will continue to evolve after the 2015-16 budget is adopted. We hope it contributes to the conversation about this year’s budget, but our chief hope is that it become a useful resource for conversation about next year’s, a conversation that actually starts quite soon, long before budget decisions make it into the news. We will continue to add capabilities to help citizens understand the City’s spending and revenue and how that relates to the community’s values and priorities. We would love to hear your ideas on how we can best do that.
Second, this year avlbudget.org is not simply a standalone website. It is built using a platform designed to host multiple government budgets and to allow community members or governments to build websites that present the data in the most effective ways possible. It’s a bit like WordPress: each site is fully customizable, with different pages, page layouts and individual components (like visualizations, slideshows, resource tables, static pages, etc.). Over the next couple months we’ll be creating sites with budget information from all 18 western North Carolina counties and we hope to bring on many other communities as well. If you are interested in getting a site together for your community, please contact us and we’ll make it happen. As long as you can get the data, there’s no cost involved in setting up a basic site.
Stay tuned for further updates. In the meantime, please go check out the site!