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Budget Explorer Tips


Tips for understanding and using the Budget Explorer

  • The main view includes a chart or graph, a legend and various controls to view expenses by departments out of various funds. 
  • You can always access the portal by navigating to http://www.stlouiscountymn.gov/opengov 
  • You'll notice 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 - such as a fund, department, expense type, or any combination - look to the left and use the menu on the side panel. These selectors allow you to specify exactly what breakdown you want the graph or table to represent. 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. 
  • 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 chart and a table. You can change your view at any time by selecting the different type of representation. The data will automatically convert. These functions are on the top right. 
  • You can download the data into a .csv spreadsheet or a .png image. 
  • You can share the data, in any view, on a social network or by email.
  • St. Louis County has many types of funds. The main fund is the General Fund. The General Fund includes core County functions, Public Safety investments (including the County Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Arrowhead Regional Corrections participation), the Auditor’s Office, etc.  
  • Special Revenue Funds are used to account for the proceeds of specific revenue sources that are legally restricted to expenditures. St. Louis County’s Special Revenue Funds have levy, state, federal and other revenue streams. These include Public Health and Human Services, Public Works, and Land and Mineral Departments. 
  • Some expenditures or revenues do not track year to year. For example, there may be expenditure for a specific item or project in FY 2013 that the County no longer uses.  These expenditure categories will only be visible for the years they were used. After that, they will be zeroed out.