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Sussex County launches online portal to enhance financial transparency

From: Bay to Bay News

GEORGETOWN — Sussex County is putting it all out there when it comes to its finances.

On Tuesday, finance director Gina A. Jennings unveiled to County Council a financial information portal on the county’s website that allows users to see how taxpayer money is being spent.

Users can search information on the county’s annual budget and its “checkbook” of day-to-day transactions, as well as payroll expenses by department.

The information can be searched, sorted and graphed, even shared via social media.

The portal, which is tied into Sussex’s Munis financial software, pulls real-time information and displays it through a series of tiles, charts and graphics. Creation of the portal was made possible by the county’s nearly $45.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds and to satisfy growing interest in how public dollars are spent.

“It is my hope that the public will utilize this site, not only to see how the county spends the ARPA funds but to see how we utilize their tax dollars — their investment in people and programs — each and every day,” Ms. Jennings said. “This is enhanced transparency. It’s just good government.”

While demonstrating how the portal works, she added, “This started when we knew ARPA funds were coming. We feel like there is a need to put it out there to the public of what our finances are.

“I am very happy with it. There shouldn’t be any questions on what we are doing in the Finance Department.”

County Council President Michael H. Vincent concurred.

“This is certainly a great tool, for you and for the county and for the public,” he said. “It’s all transparency.”

The portal is available here.