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OUR VIEW: Twinsburg city, township, school district should join OhioCheckbook.com

Published: September 28, 2016 12:00 AM

We encourage the city of Twinsburg, Twinsburg Township and the Twinsburg school district to join OhioCheckbook.com.

The website, initiated by State Treasurer Josh Mandel and launched almost two years ago, makes it very easy for anyone to look at every expenditure made by participating municipalities and governmental entities. This searchable online database is a positive step forward in government transparency. Residents can look up their municipality or school district and track spending from the largest expenses down to the smallest purchases. The site encourages more accountability in government spending, which is good for everyone in Ohio.

This endeavor has led to our state being first in the nation in terms of fiscal transparency for two years running, according to Mandel. The treasurer issued an invitation about a year and a half ago to Ohio governments to participate. Reminderville officials are working with the treasurer's office to get the village's information online soon, Mandel's representatives say. We're glad the village is joining OhioCheckbook.com and we hope the city, township and schools do, too. Anything that makes it easier for taxpayers to see how their money is being spent is worth considering, especially since there's no cost involved to participate.

One might ask, why do this if local budgets are already available on entities' individual websites, and are already public record which anyone in the community can personally come and view in person? "Very few Ohio school districts use the Online Checkbook," Twinsburg School District Treasurer Martin Aho said last month at a School Board work session.

In fact, the state treasurer's office tells us, almost 200 of the school districts in Ohio have committed to join, with about half of those online already, including the nearby Stow-Munroe Falls and Cuyahoga Falls districts.

But regardless, this would be a good opportunity for Twinsburg to set an example. We aren't saying anyone is hiding anything from residents, or that their fiscal transparency is in question. But this is an opportunity to do even better.

The convenience of OhioCheckbook.com is helping Ohio set a higher standard in the country, and we hope local officials in the Twinsburg area will choose to be a part of it.

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