More than 450 of Ohio’s 3,900 political subdivisions are already committed to State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s online checkbook. Locally, Liberty Township, the city of Delaware, the village of Shawnee Hills, Delaware County, and now the village of Sunbury have signed on to the treasurer’s free online checkbook.
While Sunbury’s online checkbook went live several months ago, last week it became official with a visit to Sunbury by two representatives of the State Treasurer’s Office — Deputy Director Eric Ochmanek and public affairs liaison Lindsey Kerr.
During their visit, Ochmanek and Kerr walked Sunbury Village Administrator Alan Rothermel and village fiscal officer Kathy Belcher through the “Open Checkbook” website, including tour of the Sunbury’s Open Checkbook page.
Sunbury’s Open Checkbook includes 12,000 individual transactions that represent more then $24 million in total spending over the past four years.
Ochmanek said the Open Checkbook project began in 2014.
“Ohio was 46th in the nation for governmental transparency a year ago, and we’ve gone to first in the nation,” Ochmanek said. “Every transaction for the past several years is at your fingertips, and best of all, this is offered at no charge. This program is definitely something we’re happy about.”
Ochmanek said the treasurer’s office works with each political subdivision to set up an online checkbook.
“It takes a few business days to turn around a website, but we end up with a snapshot of data,” Ochmanek said. “There’s no manipulation of data or records; this is just a flat Excel spreadsheet.”
Rothermel said that from the standpoint of governmental transparency, the treasurer’s Open Checkbook is “fantastic.”
“The State Treasurer of Ohio has done a ton of work on this to make it easy for our fiscal officer to get on board,” Rothermel said. “It’s great having open transparency in government, but that only goes so far unless the citizens avail themselves of the opportunity to learn.
“I’ve always been a proponent of citizens’ engagement,” Rothermel added. “Hopefully we can get Sunbury citizens not only interested in exploring our village Open Checkbook, but also becoming more engaged in their local government.”
To explore the Sunbury Open Checkbook, go to Sunbury.OhioCheckbook.com or to OhioCheckbook.com where, in the upper right corner, click “Local Government and Schools,” and then type “Village of Sunbury” in the search box. If you’re new to the site, click “Help” and in the drop-down menu, click “View Welcome Message,” and then click “Take the Tour.”
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.