GETTYBURG, Ohio — The finances of the Village of Gettysburg, Ohio, will now be available for viewing online.
Josh Burton, representing the office of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, was on hand during Thursday night’s monthly council meeting to welcome Gettysburg to the state’s online OhioCheckbook.com program.
“Today we’re just here to recognize local leaders — the mayor, council, Fiscal Officer Jesse Berry,” said Burton. “They’re raising their hand and saying ‘Yes, we want to partner with you, the Treasurer’s Office, to help take their transparency to the next level.’”
The OhioCheckbook.com financial transparency program was first launched by the state in December 2014. Gettysburg is the second local municipality, and the fourth public entity in Darke County, to post its spending on the website, joining the Village of North Star, Ohio, and the Greenville and Franklin Monroe school districts. Gettysburg’s online checkbook includes more than 4,800 individual transactions that represent more than $1.8 million of total spending over the past four years.
“In the service of the public, transparency is an obligation,” said Gettysburg Fiscal Officer Jesse Berry. “We are excited to be part of the Checkbook program in an effort to maintain the highest level of transparency from this administration.”
“I think it’s important for government at all levels to be transparent,” he added. “In a small village, there seems to be an underlying sense that the council’s ‘up to no good’ or there’s some kind of conspiracy going on. This is to show the public that nobody here is hiding anything.”
“I appreciate Jesse taking the lead on it,” said Gettysburg Mayor Jason Lance. “Again, we have nothing to hide, it’s the taxpayers’ money, and I would encourage all municipalities to do it.”
The Ohio Treasurer’s Office said OhioCheckbook.com has received overwhelming support from newspapers and groups across the state and, as of September 10, 2017 there have been more than 821,000 total searches on the site.
“I believe the people of Darke 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 Treasurer Mandel. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable.”
“OhioCheckbook.com has proven to be a tremendous resource for government transparency and accountability,” State Representative Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) said in a statement. “I applaud the Village of Gettysburg for choosing to join this program and allowing their expenditures to be open and accessible to the community, which it serves.”
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 displays more than $608 billion in spending over the past nine years, including more than 166 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.
The direct web address to see Gettysburg’s finances is Gettysburg.OhioCheckbook.com.
For more information or to view the finances of other participants, visit the “Local Government” option on OhioCheckbook.com.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com
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