OpenGov

Tips for using the City’s Financial Transparency Portal

Here are some GENERAL TIPS on how to use the Transparency Portal...

  • You can always access the portal directly by navigating to https://saratogaspringsny.opengov.com/
  • The Portal allows you to explore budget and historical finances in a simple graphical user interface. The main view includes a chart or graph, a legend and various controls to view expenses by departments out of various funds. The default view displays expenses for the General Fund (operating budget) broken down by City Department.
  • The title of the chart or graph you are viewing on top along with the account type selector. You can use the filter to see the data that is of most interest to you.
  • To focus on specific data - like a fund, department, expense type, or any combination - look to the left and use the menu on the side panel.
  • When you select "Filtered By" the data filter pops up and allows you to turn on or turn off selected filters for that category - funds, departments, expense type.
  • To see actual dollar amounts within the graphs, hover over any area of the graph to see the actual or budgeted amounts for that period.
  • To see actual dollar amounts within the graphs, hover over any area of the graph to see the actual or budgeted amounts for that period.  
  • You can also view a Table detailing the financial information in the visualizations by scrolling down or hitting the “View Table” button at the bottom right of the screen.  If there is an “Expand All” button in the upper left hand corner of the table,  click to reveal more data.
  • Keep in mind that some departments or expenses only receive funds from specific funds - if the department or expense is not funded from a particular fund, it will be grayed out.
  • There are five different types of visual representations of the data - an area graph, an area graph by percentage, a line graph, a pie graph and a table. You can change your view by type at any point by simply selecting the different type of representation. The data will automatically convert. These functions are on the top right.
  • You can also download the data into a .csv spreadheet and .png image.
  • You can share the data (any view of the data) on a social network or by email.
  • If you need assistance, please contract our Finance Department at (518) 587-3550 x2571.
Here are some SARATOGA SPRINGS-specific tips...

  • Saratoga Springs has nine Funds.  Each Fund has its own budget and each budget includes both revenue and expenses which, at the time of adoption, are equal.  Funds are organized as follows:
            A. General Fund
            E. City Center Authority Fund
            F. Water Fund
            G. Sewer Fund
            H. Capital Fund
            P. Special Assessment Fund
            Q. West Avenue Special Assessment Fund
            V. Debt Service Fund    
            Y. Community Development Fund

  • Saratoga Springs main fund is its General Fund. Most of its operating expenses come from that fund.
  • The General Fund reflects six City departments:  Mayor, Finance, Public Works, Public Safety, Accounts, and Recreation.  Each City department has Sub-departments.  
  • Each Sub-department is broken down into expense types.  Expense types are the following, and a sub-department may have all or some of these:  
  • Personal Service (wages, social security)
  • Equipment and Capital Outlay (equipment)
  • Contracted Services (anything that is purchased outside the City, such as office supplies, chemicals, service contracts, professional services, ex appraisers, auditors, extra legal)
  • Principal ((principal payments on debt)
  • Interest (interest payments on debt)
  • Employee Benefits (hospitalization, other)
  • Contingency/Transfers (contingency line for emergencies or opportunities, interfund transfers)
  • The Water and Sewer Funds are separate from the General Fund.  Each Fund has its own budget and each budget includes both revenue and expenses which, at the time of adoption, are equal.  Each reflects one City department: Public Works.  Each is supported by various revenues largely generated by user fees’ per the Water and Sewer Resolution that is adopted each year by the City Council.  Neither is uses Real Property Tax dollars to pay for or balance its expenditures.
  • The Special Assessment Funds (SAD and WASAD) each represent business districts that have opted to pay an additional tax for a variety of expenses as decreed by their respective authorities.
  • The City Center Authority Fund is separate from the General Fund.  It has its own budget including both revenue and expenses which, at the time of adoption, are equal.  It is governed by the City Center Authority, and follows certain general City policies and procedures.
  • The Capital Fund reflects the total cost of new capital projects annually.  The Debt Service Fund reflects the total cost of the principal and interest payments on all projects, annually.
  • Real Property Tax is a revenue that supports only two of the nine Funds:  The General Fund and the Debt Service Fund.  No other Fund uses Real Property Tax to pay for or balance its expenditures.