City needs to move forward with Ohio Checkbook initiative


To the Editor:

In January, your Troy City Council met in a workshop-style setting, where we each voiced our goals for 2018.

My single goal was that in 2018 the city of Troy would join the Ohio Checkbook initiative. This is a free program to encourage transparency from any public entity that receives taxpayer monies. It is, in fact, “free” because it was developed and made available using taxpayer monies. The Ohio Treasurer of State’s office has discretionary monies (read ‘taxpayer monies’) to use in a variety of ways, and this program came out of those discretionary funds.

Well, here we are in November, and it still has not happened. Am I hopeful that it could still happen? Let’s just say I’m very frustrated. Our tax dollars have already paid for this, but I’ve been told “we’re as transparent as we need to be.” I want this information finger-tip, computer accessible to our residents.

The city has been working with the TOS’s office in building the city’s Ohio Checkbook site. It is ready to “go live.” And yet, the city administration and auditor have not given the OK, nor do they indicate that they will. “Maybe after the first of the year.” “We’re waiting to see what the county does.”

Really? What happened to Troy wanting to be the first at everything?

I’ve been quietly asking for this program for several years. I’m done being quiet about it and waiting on the city to do something regarding this issue.

Huber Heights was one of the first local entities in the area to join. And when they did, I asked that we also do it. I was told that we “want to wait and see how it goes for Huber.”

The next time I asked about it, I was told by our city administration that Huber Heights didn’t like it and wished they hadn’t done it. And yet, when I called and talked with James Bell, Huber’s director of finance, in 2017, he said they were very happy with it, and said, “I don’t know why a community wouldn’t do this.” Huber has even gone the extra mile, at an additional expense, to provide yearly budget information, charts and filters, dating back to 2011. Bravo and yay for Huber Heights!

While a handful of county entities have joined the Ohio Checkbook (Bethel Schools, Tipp City Schools, Bradford Schools, villages of Fletcher and Pleasant Hill), why are the other public entities in Miami County not moving forward with this initiative?

Go to https://local.ohiocheckbook.com and take a look at those entities across the state who have joined the Ohio Checkbook.

To the city of Troy, the Miami County Commissioners, the Troy City Schools, the Troy-Miami County Public Library, to our local townships, our special districts (libraries, courts, fire districts, cemeteries, etc.), public colleges and universities … you need to do this. Sooner rather than later.

— Robin Oda

Troy City Council At-Large