Bryan Times: Stryker, Blakeslee sign on for OhioCheckbook.com
The Bryan Times
By Ron Osburn
November 19, 2016
The Villages of Stryker and Blakeslee are the first entities in Williams County to post their spending on OhioCheckbook.com.
Beth Rediger, fiscal officer for both Stryker and Blakeslee villages, was joined Thursday at Stryker town hall by representatives from the state treasurer’s office in making the announcement.
OhioCheckbook.com sets a new national standard for government transparency, and for the first time in Ohio history puts all state spending information on the internet, according to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.
Launched in December 2014, OhioCheckbook.com recently earned Ohio the No. 1 government transparency ranking in the country for the second consecutive year, according to Public Interest Research Group.
Stryker’s online checkbook, according to the site, includes over 8,900 individual transactions that represent more than $3.7 million of total spending over the past three years while Blakeslee’s includes over 800 individual transactions that represent more than $169,000 of total spending over the past four years.
“I believe the people of Williams 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,” Mandel said after the announcement that Stryker and Blakeslee will join. “By posting local government spending online, we are empowering taxpayers across Ohio to hold public officials accountable,” Mandel added.
“The Village of Stryker is proud to join the Treasurer of State’s Office in launching OhioCheckbook.com,” Rediger said. “This is a very informative program that allows the public and the village council to view all of the Village of Stryker’s expenditures, and is a useful tool for forecasting and budgeting.”
On April 7, 2015, 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.
State and local government organizations have expressed support for OhioCheckbook.com, including the Ohio Township Association, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio.
Since its launch, OhioCheckbook.com has seen more than 662,000 total searches on the site.
OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $552 billion in spending over the past eight years, including more than 151 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 on state spending.
- Functionality to compare state spending year-over-year or among agencies.
- Capability to share charts or checks with social media networks and direct contact for agency fiscal offices.