This past March, the City of Philadelphia released its Open Budget tool, a top-down visualization of Mayor Nutter’s budget proposal to City Council. The data release was unprecedented in Philadelphia; the tool allowed users to drill-down through the proposed budget by funding source, department, and expense-type. The data was also available in a downloadable open data format for the first time.
The expense types were high-level, allowing users to see how much was spent on categories like “equipment” and “personal services” – granularity beyond that was not yet available.
Today, the Department of Finance has released even more granular data, offering a deeper dive into each expense type. For example, in the category of “personal services,” users can see how much a department is spending for full-time employee salaries and overtime. In the category of “equipment,” expense data is now available for subtypes like furniture, plumbing, and printing. The data has also been updated to reflect the budget as adopted by City Council in June, and is compared to the adopted budget of fiscal year 2015.
This release is important for both transparency and accessibility in Philadelphia city government. The data does not only provide an unprecedented look in how public funds are being spent, it is paired with a visualization–the Open Budget tool–which presents this important data in a simple and engaging way.
Check out the Open Budget tool at http://www.phila.gov/openbudget.