CROWN CITY – Ohio Township and Springfield Townships joined the state Ohio Checkbook initiative Thursday.
In December 2014, Treasurer Josh Mandel launched OhioCheckbook.com, which sets a 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 today’s announcement by Ohio Township Fiscal Officer Raymond Gibson and Trustee Robert McGuire. Ohio Township and Springfield Township are the second and third townships in Gallia County to post their spending on OhioCheckbook.com.
Ohio Township’s online checkbook includes over 1,000 individual transactions that represent more than $379,000 of total spending over the past three years. Springfield Township’s online checkbook includes over 1,500 individual transactions that represent more than $1 million of total spending over the past four years.
“I believe the people of Gallia 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.”
“Ohio Township is proud to partner with Treasurer Mandel’s office to offer this service to our taxpayers at no cost to the township,” said Fiscal Officer Raymond Gibson. “As of now, our residents can go online and see how their hard earned tax dollars are being spent.”
“I applaud Ohio Township and Springfield Township for participating in OhioCheckbook.com,” said State Senator Bob Peterson. “It is important for taxpayers to see how their tax dollars are being spent in an easy and readily available way.”
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 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 February 28, 2017 there have been more than 720,000 total searches on the site.
OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $580 billion in spending over the past eight years, including more than 157 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; gully 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 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.
In April 2016, U.S. PIRG announced that 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.