Chagrin Valley Today: Residents can now view Auburn spending through online program
Chagrin Valley Today
By Joan Demirjian
August 14, 2017
AUBURN — Residents who are curious about their township’s spending can now check the numbers online on their home computers.
A representative of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel visited the Auburn Administration Office on Aug. 2 to explain the online check- book program and to help set it up with Auburn Fiscal Officer Fred May. Auburn will join other communities that are posting their spending online through the treasurer’s OhioCheckbook.com.
Treasurer Mandel started the program in December of 2014 with the intent of government transparency. All state spending information is on the internet as well.
Auburn Township is the eighth Geauga County township to post its spending online. Auburn’s online checkbook includes more than 6,000 individual transactions that represent more than $8.6 million of total spending over the past three years, according to the treasurer’s office.
Other communities in Geauga County that post their spending online are the city of Chardon, Bainbridge, Russell, Newbury, Burton, Chardon, Claridon and Chester town- ships and Chardon Municipal Court.
OhioCheckbook.com recently earned Ohio the number-one government transparency ranking in the country for the second year in a row, according to the treasurer’s office.
Mandi Merritt, a spokeswoman for the treasurer, said there have been more than 800,000 searches of the online checkbooks, “So citizens are utilizing it.”
The program generates graphs showing revenue and expenditures, Mr. May said.
“It is a nice visual way to show where the township is spending money,” he said. “It’s more dynamic than I thought it would be. You can do a lot with it.”
He has asked a representative of the auditor’s office to attend the Aug. 21 meeting of Auburn Trustees to give a demonstration on how it works.
“By posting local government spending online we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable,” he said.
When the program was started in 2014, it was the first time in Ohio history that citizens could see all expenditures in state government, according to the treasurer’s office.
The treasurer’s office is currently partnering with OpenGov, a Silicon Valley government technology company, to provide software to view and search local government expenditures in a user-friendly, digital format.
To view a local government website, residents can visit the Local Government option on OhioCheckbook.com. For Auburn’s check- book information, residents can click on to AuburnTownshipGeauga.OhioCheckbook.com.