XENIA — Xenia and Ross townships have joined OhioCheckbook.com, Treasurer Josh Mandel announced Dec. 5.
The townships become the eighth and ninth townships in Greene County to post their spending on OhioCheckbook.com.
Xenia Township’s online checkbook includes more than 6,700 individual transactions that represent more than $4 million of total spending over the past two years.
Ross Township’s online checkbook includes more than 2,400 individual transactions that represent more than $1 million of total spending over the past four years.
“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 my office to post the finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” Mandel said. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”
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.
“OhioCheckbook.com is an easy to use tool to provide our Township the ability to share how the resident’s tax dollars are being used,” said Xenia Township Fiscal Officer Sheila Seiter. “We are happy to give them the access they deserve. This also provides another tool of historical data for our Board and staff. We thank State Treasurer Mandel for this opportunity and at no cost to local governments. You can also access Xenia Township’s data from our website at XeniaTownship.org.”
Said Ross Township Fiscal Officer Lee Snell, “Ross Township residents will have the ability of going online to see how their taxes are being spent through OhioCheckbook.com.”
A large coalition of statewide and local government organizations have expressed support for www.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.
Since its launch, OhioCheckbook.com has received overwhelming support from newspapers and groups across the state and, as of Dec. 3, 2017 there have been more than 867,000 total searches on the site.
OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $621 billion in spending from the past 10 years, including more than 168 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 its 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 first in spending transparency as a result of 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 again earned Ohio the number one government transparency ranking in the country and Ohio again received the highest perfect score of 100 points.
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 a local government website, visit the local government option on www.OhioCheckbook.com
Xenia Daily Gazette news report compiled by Scott Halasz.