By Wayne Allen
The Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District Board of Directors met in the Scioto County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon. Among the items considered was to put their checkbook online.
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.
District Director Dan Palmer thought it was not a good idea, because the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tracks similar data.
“This was brought up for discussion at our EPA meeting. Several (solid waste) districts said they are not going to do it,” Palmer said. “We’re audited by the state of Ohio, there are our finances, and they (anyone interested) can go onto the EPA website and find our finances.”
The Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Management District’s Board of Directors consists of the county commissioners from Scioto and Lawrence County. 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. Mike Crabtree, chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners said doing this would put additional burden on the Scioto County Auditor’s office, who manages district finances.
“It’s obvious that he (Mandel) does not have anything else better to do, than send out letters asking for information that anybody that has any interest in can easily get,” Crabtree said.
With the majority of those in attendance speaking against the notion of the district participating, the issue was not discussed further.
The Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) is scheduled to consider the same issue, placing their finances online. According to state officials if approved SOPA would be the first port authority participating in the state.
For more information about the initiative visit OhioCheckbook.com.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT