By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SOUTH JERSEY – Budget, staffing, personnel cost, debt, and financial information for New Jersey municipalities has been made available to the public in a “flexible, easy-to-use format, according to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA).
The User Friendly Budget Database was launched by DCA’s Division of Local Government Services (DLGS).
“The User Friendly Budget Database is just the latest effort by DCA’s tremendous staff to make local government data available for public view, comparison, and analysis,” Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who also serves as DCA Commissioner, said in a press release from DCA. “We hope people find it helpful and illuminating, and ultimately use it to become more informed citizens.”
The budget database can be found on the Fiscal Reports page of DCA’s Division of Local Government Services website.
“The Division of Local Government Services embarked on this budget database in an effort to put all of the information we’ve been compiling for years in one location in an easy, understandable format,” DLGS Director Jacquelyn Suárez said. “We recognize people want access to data they understand so they can make educated decisions and improve their communities. We believe the budget database will help in these endeavors.”
The budget database allows any user to pull budget, staffing, financial and debt information going back to 2015 for municipalities into an interactive table format. There is also a graph feature that allows any metric to be visualized over time, a glossary tab that explains the meaning of the terms used for the non-municipal finance professionals, and an instructions tab that explains how to use the interactive table. Users can also access summary data for all municipalities, organized by year with each year in its own tab.
The budget database is based on a summary of data already entered in the User Friendly Budgets prepared by New Jersey municipalities for their adopted budgets since 2015. It does not include all data entered in User Friendly Budgets, but includes those major data points that cannot be found in other DLGS data releases. Data on land area, population, and aggregate property valuation were added from Census Bureau Population Estimates, the 2020 Decennial Census (Redistricting Data), and DLGS Abstract of Ratables data releases to put some of the data in context.
Municipalities that did not submit budgets in a given year or that submitted budget documents that could not be opened or analyzed will have no data for that year. Areas where municipalities entered no data or made obvious errors are marked with a dash (–) or a “no data” tag.
The database will be updated in October each year by aggregating the information from the User Friendly Budgets that municipalities submit annually to DLGS.
All data are self-reported by municipalities and have not been independently audited or verified. DCA is not responsible for the accuracy of this data. Also, questions about specific data points should be directed to the Chief Financial Officer of the municipality or municipalities concerned.
DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.
For more information about DCA, visit nj.gov/dca/.
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