Madison Press: Treasurer announces county’s first Ohio Checkbook members
Plain City, Monroe and Paint townships put purchases online for public view
By Andrea Chaffin
February 12, 2016
Three municipalities became the first in Madison County on Thursday to sign up for Ohio Checkbook.
The village of Plain City, Monroe Township and Paint Township will put their public spending on the Ohio treasurer’s website, OhioCheckbook.com, for all to view.
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel launched the website in December 2014 to increase government transparency. For the first time in Ohio history, it puts all state spending information on the internet, according to a state release.
Plain City’s online checkbook includes more than 7,000 individual transactions that represent more than $10 million of total spending over the past three years.
“I believe the people of Madison 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,” Mandel said in a statement. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”
“The question isn’t why should we show transparency with our finances, the question should be, why would we not,” stated Darrin Lane, Plain City mayor.
“It is an honor to be serving the people,” stated Connie Troyer, Monroe Township fiscal officer. “We have to be committed to doing the right. We need to be accountable for everything we do. That is why it was important to me that the citizens be provided an online resource. They need to know and be reassured that we are dedicated to the well-being of the township.”
“I wanted to make information available to the people so they could educate themselves on township affairs,” stated Paint Township Fiscal Officer Cindy Mace.
The website is a way for municipalities to increase transparency without additional expense or excessive work.
Mandel sent a letter in April to 18,062 local government and school officials calling on them to place their checkbook level data on OhioCheckbook.com. These local governments include cities, counties, townships, schools, library districts and other special districts.
As of Feb. 9, there have been more than 458,000 total searches on the site.
OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $506 billion in spending over the past eight years, including more than 137 million transactions. The website includes features such as:
- “Google-style” contextual search capabilities, to allow users to sort by keyword, department, category or vendor
- Fully dynamic interactive charts to drill down on state spending
- Functionality to compare state spending year-over-year or among agencies
- Capability to share charts or checks with social media networks
- Direct contact for agency fiscal offices
For more information or to view your local government website, visit the Local Government option on OhioCheckbook.com or PlainCity.OhioCheckbook.com.