By: Andrew Cass (News-Herald)
Ohio state officials have unveiled OhioCheckbook.gov, a new transparency website that combines a previous local government spending data site with state spending data.
Previously, the local government spending information was hosted on OhioCheckbook.com and administered by the Ohio Treasurer’s Office. Ohio’s Interactive Budget was previously operated by the state’s Office of Budget and Management.
Treasurer Robert Sprague and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said in an announcement the site is a “one-stop resource for taxpayers hoping to learn more about spending at the state and local levels of government.”
Sprague and Husted first announced the partnership last November. OhioCheckbook.com was first launched by then-Treasurer Josh Mandel in 2014.
Day-to-day management of the new OhioCheckbook.gov will be administered in collaboration between the Ohio Treasurer’s office and the Office of Budget and Management with the support of the Office of Information Technology, according to a news release announcing the site’s launch.
The officials stated that combining the two websites will save a projected $900,000 annually.
“Since its inception, the Treasurer’s office has required substantial outside vendor support to administer the Ohio Checkbook,” Treasurer’s office spokesperson Brittany Halpin said. “That is no longer the case, as we havemerged the site with the existing Interactive Budget and brought operations in-house between our office and the administration. By partnering with the DeWine-Husted Administration, we are able to significantly reduce management and maintenance costs moving forward.”
Sprauge said in a statement, this “second generation of the Ohio Checkbook includes all state revenues instead of just expenditures, and now we can provide Ohioans with a complete fiscal picture of our state.”
State expenditures will be reported in real-time, according to the news release. Local government participation in the website is voluntary and spending details are updated as often as the participating government entity provides the information to the state.
Local government data is not limited just to counties, cities, villages and townships. It also includes school districts, special districts such as libraries, and colleges and public colleges and universities though Miami University is currently the one participating.
Several area local governments are participating in the Ohio Checkbook. Among those is Lake County. Auditor Chris Galloway said in a statement the new Ohio new Ohio-Checkbook.gov is a “robust platform that will be an even more useful tool for taxpayers to track public spending at both the state and local levels.”
A full list of participating local governments can be found at https:// ohiocheckbook.gov/Local.