WARREN, Mich. – Metro Detroiters who want to know how their city government or school district is doing financially, can find out with a few clicks of a mouse.
Munetrix is an online database that creators said has budgets and financial reports for all the municipal governments in Michigan. It also has them for school districts.
Even though many financial reports are available online, Munetrix said it breaks the information down to make it easier to understand.
The Oakland County start-up company said it likes to paint a picture using easy to understand charts and graphs.
"Most municipalities put their financial reports online and you know, they claim to be transparent, but it's just copies of PDF budgets, financial audited reports that are very comprehensive," said Bob Kittle, a cofounder of Munetrix.
The city of Warren was one of the first to use Munetrix.
"The whole transparency tool, it definitely reinvented the wheel for us," said Jim Hartley, a statistic analyst for the city of Warren.
Cities can use Munetrix to help manage their finances and see how decisions today will affect their fiscal health in the future.
Residents can use the website to see how their tax dollars are being spent.
"They can go right onto our website and drill down into Munetrix and very easily read what is out there," said Rob Maleszyk, Warren's controller. "It's very user friendly and it's data that has integrity because it comes from the state of Michigan."
Munetrix extracts financial data cities report to the state.
"From a resident or a citizen perspective, it gives them a very simplistic overview of what a lot of people would consider an awful lot of numbers that you'd almost have to be a CPA to figure out," said Hartley.
Kittle said governments that use their program to forward plan can prevent a money crisis. He gave the example of Highland Park schools
"If a system like this was available to them a few years ago, they could have actually seen many of these trends coming before they actually happened," said Kittle. "What we've designed Munetrix to do was to predict these thing well ahead of time so they can make the necessary course corrections before, you know, any disaster hits."
Munetrix is free to the public.
If you would like to check it out, click here.