Pike County News Watchman: Village of Piketon partners with state treasurer to use OhioCheckbook.com
Pike County News Watchman
By Matt Lucas
January 15, 2016
The Village of Piketon and the office of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced on Wednesday that Piketon will be partnering with the treasurer's office to place the village's spending online at OhioCheckbook.com, becoming the first local government in Pike County to take advantage of this free partnership.
“I believe the people of Pike County have a right to know how their tax money is being spent, and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with my office to post the finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” said Treasurer Mandel. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”
Piketon Mayor Billy Spencer and new Piketon Clerk/Treasurer Brock Clemmons were joined by Jared Borg, representing Mandel's office, to make the announcement. According to Spencer, he is proud that Piketon is the first entity in Pike County to partner with the treasurer's office to completely open their books to the public.
"Citizens are privy to everything we do including how we spend the village's money," Spencer stated. "It is my hope that others in the county will follow suit."
Mandel launched OhioCheckbook.com in December 2014, putting all state spending information on the internet. According to Borg, in 2013, Ohio was ranked 46th in the country in terms of spending transparency, and since the launch of OhioCheckbook.com, Ohio was ranked number one in the country in terms of spending transparency in a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in March 2015.
According to Mandel's office, on April 7, 2015, Treasurer Mandel sent a letter to 18,062 local government and school officials representing 3,962 local governments throughout the state calling on them to place their checkbook level data on OhioCheckbook.com and extending an invitation to partner with his office at no cost to local governments. These local governments include cities, counties, townships, schools, library districts and other special districts.
The local government site was launched in September 2015, and there are 171 live sites now and approximately 471 partnerships, according to Borg.
"Put it out there and let people look at it and see how their money is spent," Spencer said of the new partnership. "It's their money. Everything we get is someone else's money, basically. I think we've watched that well over the years, and we'll continue to do so, and this actually will help ... It's a good program."
Clemmons mentioned that he served on village council for 10 years, and since taking on the role of clerk/treasurer, he wants to search for some ways to move forward technology-wise.
"We want to be ahead of the game, and we want the people in this town to benefit the same, as we much as we can, financially, as they do in the bigger cities," Clemmons stated.