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West Chester takes next steps in open data

Post Date:04/27/2018 11:44 AM

This week West Chester moves another step closer to making Township data easily accessible to the public.

West Chester partnered with OpenGov in 2017 to deliver a comprehensive data platform for the community and internal operations. The goal is to make the township’s data more accessible publicly and create efficiencies in operations by sharing data more comprehensively among all township departments.

Starting this week, the public can get some help finding a local restaurant with an interactive restaurant map and they can peruse the monthly report of commercial permits approved for new businesses, expansions and alterations to existing commercial buildings.

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These are just a couple of data sets revealed with this launch of Community Development data. There will also be access to basic data collected from the U.S. Census and other statewide and national sources that shows West Chester Township as it relates to other entities.

In October, West Chester’s checkbook was launched giving the public a clearer picture of how taxpayer dollars are spent and from where township revenues are collected.

Since that time, OpenGov’s Budget Builder tool has been implemented internally to more efficiently manage the township’s operational budget process and allow for more collaboration in development of the operational budget. Budget Builder will be fully deployed for the 2019 budget cycle.

“We are already experiencing benefit in our operations and in how we communicate financial information to the public,” said Township Administrator Larry D. Burks. “West Chester’s Open Data platform will continue to evolve and grow.”

The next steps will be adding public safety – police and fire – and infrastructure data to the platform. These are the more intense data generators in township operations and creating seamless integration with the public-facing portal will take more time to achieve.

Working with OpenGov, West Chester will also enhance opportunities for demonstrating more data using mapping.

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