Canton Repository: More Stark governments join state's open checkbook program
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel was in Canton Monday morning to announce that information on spending for five additional Stark County communities are now on ohiocheckbook.com.
By Robert Wang
November 23, 2015
CANTON Starting today, anyone can now read online detailed information on the spending by five Stark County local governments, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said Monday.
“I decided I was just going to do this on my own because the taxpayers had the right to see how their money was being spent,” said Mandel, who spoke at the Stark County Data Center on Fourth Street NE.
The governments whose spending are now on OhioCheckbook.com are: Stark County, North Canton, Massillon, Plain Township and Paris Township.
Alliance’s information was posted along with the initial round of local governments around the state on Sept. 24th.
At least 129 local governments in Ohio now have a list of their expenditures on OhioCheckbook.com. Each community decided how many years of spending they wanted to submit.
Mandel’s office said about 360 local governments out of 3,962 in Ohio have agreed to submit their information for the site. In Stark County, that includes Canton, Marlboro Township, Washington Township, Osnaburg Township, Canton Township, Navarre, the Osnaburg Local School District, the Massillon City School District and the Tuslaw Local School District.
Mandel said in his announcement that setting up the website to include spending by state agencies, which was launched about a year ago, and local governments has cost about $814,000 out of his agency’s budget. He said he paid for it with $6 million a year in savings, such as switching to electronic check deposits and no longer hiring a contractor to water plants in his office.
It will cost the state an estimated $500,000 to $1.3 million a year, depending on how many local governments submit their information, to cover the cost of submitting new data, support, software updates and maintenance, Mandel’s office said. Local governments do not have to pay anything.
Mandel said he has asked the state legislature to approve a bill that would make it mandatory for his successors to keep operating OhioCheckbook.com.
His office says every expenditure for included local governments can be accessed by the public and each entry includes the name of the local government spending the money, the agency or office, the amount of each payment, the vendor, the check number, date of expenditure and a general description of the expenditure. But that description can be vague.
Mandel said he would like to eventually add features, like a link to a digital copy of the purchase order and contract for each expenditure and an apples-to-apples comparison between spending by communities.