South Solon, Pleasant Township join OhioCheckbook.com


Spending can be viewed online, adds to transparency

Staff report



From left are: Mary Crall, Public Affairs Liaison for Ohio Treasurer’s Office, Joe Haney, South Solon Mayor and Carol Benedict, South Solon Fiscal Officer.


Contributed photo

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced Monday the launch of the Village of South Solon and Pleasant Township’s online checkbooks on OhioCheckbook.com. In December 2014, 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 government transparency ranking in the country for the second year in a row.

The Ohio Treasurer’s office was joined at the announcement by South Solon Mayor Joe Haney and South Solon Fiscal Officer Carol Benedict.

South Solon is the third village in Madison County to post its spending on OhioCheckbook.com, and Pleasant Township is the sixth township in the county to post its spending on OhioCheckbook.com.

The following is a breakdown of the local government sites:

• South Solon’s online checkbook includes more than 700 individual transactions that represent more than $186,000 of total spending over Fiscal Year 2016.

• Pleasant Township’s online checkbook includes over 1,700 individual transactions that represent more than $726,000 of total spending over the past four 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,” said Mandel. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”

“South Solon is excited to join other entities in Madison County as leaders in financial transparency,” said South Solon Fiscal Officer Carol Benedict. “By joining the Ohio Checkbook effort, we are helping our local residents better understand how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.”

“The Township of Pleasant is proud to join OhioCheckbook.com,” said Fiscal Officer Kathy Endres. “This application allows us to be transparent with our community about the financial decisions that we make.”

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.

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

• Common Cause Ohio

OhioCheckbook.com was launched on Dec. 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 July 21, there have been more than 799,000 total searches on the site.

OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $598 billion in spending over the past nine years, including more than 164 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 2015, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) released their annual “Following the Money 2015” report and 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.

In April 2016, U.S. PIRG announced that Treasurer Mandel earned Ohio the number one government transparency ranking in the country for the second consecutive year in a row. Due to the launch of OhioCheckbook.com, Ohio again received the highest perfect score of 100 points this year – marking the second time in two years Ohio received the highest possible 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.

From left are: Mary Crall, Public Affairs Liaison for Ohio Treasurer’s Office, Joe Haney, South Solon Mayor and Carol Benedict, South Solon Fiscal Officer.
http://madison-press.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/07/web1_MadisonCountyOhioCheckbook.compiccol.jpgFrom left are: Mary Crall, Public Affairs Liaison for Ohio Treasurer’s Office, Joe Haney, South Solon Mayor and Carol Benedict, South Solon Fiscal Officer. Contributed photo
Spending can be viewed online, adds to transparency

Staff report