Treasurer Josh Mandel Announces Launch of the Ross County and City of Chillicothe Checkbooks on OhioCheckbook.com
Momentum Grows for Statewide Government Transparency with Over 1,110 Local Government and School Districts Partnering with OhioCheckbook.com
Press Release - Ohio Treasurer's Office
CHILLICOTHE– Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel announced today the launch of Ross County and the City of Chillicothe’s online checkbooks on OhioCheckbook.com. In December 2014, Treasurer 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.
The Ohio Treasurer’s office was joined at today’s announcement by Ross County Auditor Tom Spetnagel Jr. and Chillicothe Auditor Kristal Spetnagel.
Ross County is the 29th county in Ohio to post their spending on OhioCheckbook.com, and Chillicothe is the first city in Ross County to post their spending on OhioCheckbook.com
The following is a breakdown of today’s local government sites:
- Ross County’s online checkbook includes over 45,000 individual transactions that represent more than $67 million of total spending over the past two years.
- Chillicothe’s online checkbook includes over 61,000 individual transactions that represent more than $44 million of total spending over the past two years.
“I believe the people of Ross 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.”
“The people of Ross County deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Ross County Auditor Tom Spetnagel. “By partnering with the State Treasurer's office, that information is just a few clicks away.”
“In the City Government’s pursuit of financial transparency, we are proud to partner with the State Treasurer’s office to add OhioCheckbook.com as another online tool to see how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent,” said Chillicothe Auditor Kristal Spetnagel.
“I applaud local officials in Ross County for their commitment to transparency and accountability through the use of this program, and I look forward to it being a helpful resource for constituents,” said Speaker Cliff Rosenberger.
“I applaud Ross County and the City of Chillicothe 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.”
“As an advocate for transparent government, I applaud the decision of Ross County and the City of Chillicothe to disclose their finances on OhioCheckbook.com,” said State Representative Gary Scherer. “I encourage all government entities in our region to follow suit if they haven’t already done so.”
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
- 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 June 6, 2017 there have been more than 775,000 total searches on the site.
OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $598 billion in spending over the past nine years, including more than 164 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 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 Treasurer 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 or click on: