For Greene County News
COLUMBUS – Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel recently announced the launch of Sugarcreek Township and Bath Township checkbooks on OhioCheckbook.com.
Also announced was a partnership with Cedarville Township and the Ohio Treasurer’s office to post their spending online on OhioCheckbook.com. Last year, Treasurer Mandel launched OhioCheckbook.com, which sets a new national standard for government transparency and for the first time in Ohio history puts all state spending information on the internet. OhioCheckbook.com recently earned Ohio the number one ranking in the country for government transparency.
With the launch of its online checkbook, taxpayers in Sugarcreek are now able to view over 9,000 transactions that equal to more than $9.6 million of total spending over the past two years. Taxpayers in Bath are now able to view over 8,000 transactions that equal to more than $5.5 million of total spending over the past three years.
Sugarcreek Township and Bath Township are the fourth and fifth townships in Greene County to post their spending online, and Cedarville Township is the sixth township in the county to announce a partnership with the Treasurer’s office to post their spending on OhioCheckbook.com.
“I believe the people of Greene County have a right to know how their tax money is being spent and I applaud local leaders here for partnering with the Treasurer’s office to post their finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” said Treasurer Mandel. “By partnering and posting local government checkbooks, taxpayers across Ohio are empowered with a powerful tool to hold public officials accountable within their communities.”
“Sugarcreek Township appreciates the Transparency Project initiative led by Treasurer Mandel’s office and we are happy to be one of the first local governments to provide data for inclusion in the database,” said Sugarcreek Township Administrator Barry Tiffany. “The online checkbook allows our constituents greater access to information on how their money is being spent and it allows the Township to further our goal of transparency without the cost and duplicity of multiple systems statewide. It’s a win for us and it’s a win for the taxpayers in Sugarcreek Township and the State of Ohio.”
“As more and more citizens look online for government information, Bath Township is excited to be on the front end of this free and easy transparency movement by posting our finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” said Bath Township Fiscal Officer Elaine Brown.
“I felt that Cedarville Township adopting the checkbook tool provided an easy and simplified way for the citizens to access information,” said Cedarville Township Trustee Taylor Minor. “It is my belief that the more people are involved in government the better. This is an outlet through which we can encourage the engagement of the township’s residents.”
On April 7th, 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.
A large coalition of statewide and local government organizations have expressed support for OhioCheckbook.com and local government transparency, including: Ohio Municipal League, Ohio Township Association, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, County Commissioner Association of Ohio, County Auditor Association of Ohio, Ohio Newspaper Association, Ohio Society of CPAs, Buckeye Institute, and Common Cause Ohio.
OhioCheckbook.com was launched on December 2, 2014, marking the first time in Ohio history when citizens could actually see every expenditure in state government. Since its launch, OhioCheckbook.com has received overwhelming support from newspapers and groups across the state and, as of December 7, 2015 there have been more than 401,000 total searches on the site.
OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $490 billion in spending over the past eight years, including more than 134 million transactions. The website includes cutting-edge 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; and, Capability to share charts or checks with social media networks, and direct contact for agency fiscal offices.
In March, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) released their annual “Following the Money 2015” report and Treasurer Mandel earned Ohio the number one transparency ranking in the country for providing online access to government spending data. Ohio was prominently featured in the report after climbing from 46th to 1st in spending transparency as a result of Treasurer Mandel’s release of OhioCheckbook.com. Due to the launch of OhioCheckbook.com, Ohio received a perfect score of 100 points this year – the highest score in the history of the U.S. PIRG transparency rankings.
The Treasurer’s office is partnering with OpenGov, a leading Silicon Valley government technology company, to provide residents of Ohio the ability to view and search local government expenditures in a user-friendly, digital format. “Ohio is setting the standard for financial transparency on an unprecedented scale. We are excited to partner with the Treasurer’s office to bring world-class technology to communities large and small across the state,” said Zachary Bookman, CEO of OpenGov.
For more information or to view your local government website, visit the Local Government option on OhioCheckbook.com or click on [SugarcreekTownshipGreene.OhioCheckbook.com] or [BathTownshipGreene.OhioCheckbook.com].
Information provided by Treasurer Mandel’s office.