By DENISE GRANT
The City of Findlay will soon be opening up its financial records on OhioCheckbook.com, an initiative of State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office.
City Auditor Jim Staschiak said city data for the site was submitted to the state on Sept. 27, and a review of the records to be published on the site is nearly done.
Staschiak said he is waiting for a guarantee from the state that only information submitted by his office will appear on the site. He said a software representative added data to Findlay’s test page that had not been vetted by his office.
“I think it’s a minor issue, but OpenGov (the software company chosen by the state) and the state treasurer will have to affirm that the city’s data presented on the Ohio Checkbook will only come from this office in the future,” Staschiak said. “This final step is important because the Ohio Checkbook site requires a written confirmation from me that our data is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, so I want to make sure it is only uploaded by me.”
Nearly 900 counties, cities, villages, school districts and other entities are participating in the site. There is no cost for the government bodies.
The database is filled with graphics and a Google-like interface. It displays more than $540 billion in spending, including more than 148 million transactions.
Mandel launched the website in late 2014.
The City of Findlay went live with its own financial transparency website, FindlayOhioFinances.com, in August.
That website was created by the city auditor’s office and Tyler Technologies, the company that owns the city’s financial software system, MUNIS.
Findlay’s website is updated weekly, and allows users to look at the city’s finances from 2012 to the present. It also allows users to see vendor payments and city departments’ spending. Users are able to download spreadsheets of selected data, and search the database based on funds, categories, functions and departments.
It will also allow users to see the salaries of every city government employee.
The website is similar to OhioCheckbook.com, except Findlay’s website includes both revenues and expenses. The state’s site only lists expenditures.
Staschiak said the city’s system is completely automated and capable of producing data that has been approved by his office for submission to the state.
About 4,000 people have visited the city’s website since August, most seeking salary information.
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