By Wayne Allen
The Scioto County Commissioners maintain their position that putting the county’s checkbook online would put additional burden on the Scioto County Auditor’s Office.
The office of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has an ongoing initiative aimed at getting local governments and associated agencies to place their checkbook online. Earlier this year 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 at no cost. OhioCheckbook.com was launched on Dec. 2, 2014, marking the first time in Ohio history when citizens could see every expenditure in state government. Since its launch, there have been more than 275,000 total searches on the site. OhioCheckbook.com displays more than $408 billion in spending over the past seven years, including more than 112 million transactions.
Recently, the Governing Board of the Lawrence Scioto Solid Waste Management District chose not to put their finances online; due in-part to the fact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes their finances available online. At the solid waste district board meeting, Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman said the idea was stupid, and if people wanted access to the district’s finances there are multiple ways to get it.
“It’s obvious that he (Mandel) does not have anything else better to do, then send out letters asking for information that anybody, that has any interest in, can easily get,” said Mike Crabtree, chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners.
Coleman said he thinks the idea would be a waste of time and money.
“It just dumps more burden on him (Scioto County Auditor David Green), when they can go other places and get the same information,” Coleman said.
Crabtree said it may not cost the county any money to enroll in the program, but it would take someone time to enter or send the data, costing the county money.
“In reality how many people are really going to look at that. You may be looking at one-tenth of one percent of people who have an interest in it and most of them are going to come down here and get hard copies,” Crabtree said.
The Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) is scheduled to consider the same issue at an upcoming meeting. According to state officials if approved SOPA would be the first participating port authority.
Commissioner Bryan Davis said his concern with the program is uploading or sending information that accounts for every penny of county finances.
“Part of my concern, the port authority would have far less transactions than the county would,” Davis said.
Davis said it would ultimately the decision of Green if the county would put its finances online, because his office would be responsible for making it happen.
For more information about the program visit OhioCheckbook.com.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT