About the Dashboard
- Updated on Thursday, January 3, 2013, 6:49 pm
The Albany Dashboard is a new tool in providing up-to-date financial and performance data to the residents of Albany.
Clicking the Launch Dashboard button to the right will take you to our report generation system. After you select one of the City departments from the drop-down list, you can then choose the fiscal year you want, and press the VIEW REPORT button to retrieve the report.
Financial data is available from FY 2008 (FY 2007- 2008) through the current fiscal year. The information is updated every night. Anyone who wants can see the current status of the appropriations for any program in any department at any time. At a glance you can see the Current Budget, Encumbrances, Total Spent and % Used on each category of expenditure for any given program. By clicking on a category hyperlink, you can see the current detailed status of all objects that make up the category you selected.
The system also provides Performance Charting access for all programs that have measures. Available measures are shown via blue hyperlinks for measures contained in the Annual Budget, National Benchmarking, and the City's Strategic Plan. All available measurement information is shown, regardless of the fiscal year picked for financial information.
If you wish to save or print the information, from the "Select a format" drop-down list you can choose the Acrobat PDF format then click on Export to download the information to your computer.
Questions or Comments
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the information come from?
The items in the Annual Budget section come from the Annual City Budget. The financial information you see comes directly from the City's electronic accounting system. The information is current as of the last update, which is normally performed overnight.
Items in the National Benchmarks section mostly come from a performance measurement project sponsored by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Albany participates in this annual reporting and the measures used are based on a consistent formula used by all jurisdictions that participate, making the comparisons more appropriate. However, not all cities participate.
The final area, Strategic Plan, contains Albany specific objectives and measures. These measures can change from year to year as the City Council decides.
What kind of information am I seeing in the Annual Budget Data and how is it developed?
The information is prepared by each department as part of the budget it submits to the City Council. Often, what you see are workload counts that relate to the program area. You may also see dates when specific work is expected to be completed.
You see multiple years' worth of information where it is available. However, be very careful about drawing conclusions about changes that occur from year to year. In any system, inherent variation occurs over time, which is normal.
What kind of information is contained in the National Benchmarks section?
This is data that Albany has contributed to national benchmarking projects, compared to the median responses from all the cities that participated overall, and for "small cities" — those with less than 100,000 population.
Why are these particular measures contained in the Strategic Plan section?
In the Strategic Plan, the City Council has set broad goals under the categories of Great Neighborhoods, A Safe City, A Healthy Economy and An Effective Government.
For each goal in each category, City departments have identified specific objectives that they intend to complete over the next five years. Each objective has a corresponding measure to determine whether the objective is being met.
For a clearer understanding, see the Strategic Plan.
What are the various "programs" I see?
Programs are listed in the Annual City Budget and represent the various areas of service or expense within each department.
Each program represents a general area of activity, where budget appropriations are made. Some programs include staff, operating expenses, and large purchases/projects that are considered capital. Other programs are more limited.
Programs begin with a 3-digit FUND number, followed by a 2-digit DEPARTMENT number followed by a 4-digit PROGRAM number. Some departments may operate in several different FUNDS.
The FUND numbers are organized as follows.
- Series 100 General Fund Programs
- Series 200 Special Revenue Funds (restricted use revenues)
- Series 300 Debt Service Funds (Bond and loan repayment)
- Series 400 Capital Projects Funds (General projects or grant funded)
- Series 500 Permanent Funds (Trust and endowments)
- Series 600 Enterprise Funds (Sewer & Water)
- Series 700 Internal Services Funds
What do the columns of numbers represent?
The Budget Column is the current status of the authorized budget for the group of expenses shown and the program as a whole. Sometimes, the budgets are adjusted during the course of the year, often because of things like grants that are received but not anticipated when the original budget was compiled. The Council authorizes these budget changes, and the numbers you see are current.
The Encumbered column represents money that has been set aside in a purchase order to buy something, but the purchase has not yet been made. In large multi-year projects, encumbrances are often carried into the next fiscal year.
The YTD Paid column is the actual payments that have been made so far in the fiscal year. The % Remaining column represents the amount of budget not yet encumbered or paid.
Why are some the expense categories or line items overspent? Why is that allowed?
In most cases managers are bound by the overall budget for the program, not the appropriations for the individual categories or line items. This allows managers to be flexible in dealing with changing needs during the course of a fiscal year.
Why is there no total for the entire department, only each program?
Under state law, City policy, and generally accepted accounting principles, some areas of program expense are required to be separated from others. This is accomplished by setting up a "Fund" which is like its own independent business. City governments consist of many separate "Funds".
Some city departments operate across several different Funds, so giving a total by adding all those programs together would give a false number and be misleading. It would be very difficult to sort that out in this display system, so we encourage you to go to the actual budget document or Annual Financial Report for more details.
The Albany Dashboard relies on Microsoft's SQL Reporting Services which is not 100% cross-browser compatible. While data is accessible in Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox, est results are seen with Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 7 or higher). Future versions of the Dashboard will hopefully address these issues as resources become available.
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