The City of Portsmouth is now part of the Treasurer of State’s online checkbook. While you may have thought it seems like it took a long time, Portsmouth City Auditor Trent Williams said he was not just putting it off.
“It’s something I was interested in doing right from the beginning, but wanted to wait and see how it all worked out with some of the others first,” Williams said. “It seemed to be a worthwhile project at the very beginning and I’m happy now that it’s finished and we’re a part of it.”
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel made it official Wednesday as the city launched it’s online checkbook on OhioCheckbook.com. In December, 2014, Mandel launched the service which set a national standard for government transparency. For the first time in Ohio history, all of the state’s spending could be found in one place. That is now the case for the City of Portsmouth. Portsmouth is the first city in Scioto County to post their spending on the OhioCheckbook.com
Williams said the posting does not require much additional work.
“The work that will be involved will just be right along with our year-end procedures each year,” Williams said. “It’s just another report that we have had designed with our software vendor, and once we’re finished with our year-end reconciliation wrapup for the year’s report, I’ll run that report, then send it on to the State Treasurer’s Office IP people there, then we’ll be up and have another year’s worth of data on for that year.”
Portsmouth’s online checkbook includes over 47,000 individual transaction s that represent more than $96 million of total spending over the past three years.
“Mostly it’s to give more confidence in what the impression is of what the city is doing or any of the entities that are part of the program,” Williams said. “That information is more readily available and at the fingertips of anyone who might be interested.”
The person who has consistently asked Williams about the progress of the online checkbook has been First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson who was elated at the most recent City Council meeting when Williams announced the online checkbook is now a reality.
When asked by the Daily Times if he had been waiting for the online checkbook for a long time, Johnson replied — “Yes, a long time.”
Mandel also announced that Rarden Township became the first township in Scioto County to join the online checkbook. It includes over 1,300 individual transactions that represent more than $970,000 of total spending over the past three years.
“I believe the people of Scioto 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.
“I would like to congratulate the Southern Ohio Port Authority and the Village of New Boston for taking the first steps in putting their entities’ finances online and we’re proud to join them both in this transparency initiative,” Williams said. “I appreciate the opportunity to partner with State Treasurer Mandel to make the City’s information easily accessible and transparent to the public. With this program and the technology that is available now, this will be a valuable tool to allow our taxpayers to easily see for themselves how and where their tax dollars are being spent.”
For more information or to view your local government website, visit the Local Government option on OhioCheckbook.com or click on: • Portsmouth.OhioCheckbook.com; • RardenTownshipSci oto. OhioCheckbook. com.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.