Cleveland Heights should take advantage of Ohio's transparency initiative
Earlier this month, I went to a meeting regarding Ohio Checkbook (www.ohiocheckbook.com), which is Ohio's transparency initiative. It is spearheaded by Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, and is supported by his predecessor and political opponent, Kevin Boyce.
Launched in December 2014, Ohio's open checkbook allows taxpayers to see how their money is spent by the state—its sole purpose is to EMPOWER TAXPAYERS TO MAKE POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE.
Do you feel empowered in Cleveland Heights?
This program is setting the standard for government transparency in the country and has brought Ohio's transparency rating from #46 to #1 in the nation.
This program is blind to partisanship; taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent. The government is a STEWARD of our money. The information about how our money is spent belongs to the people, not to the government.
This user-friendly system can locate expenditures by department, vendor and category. The best part—this system has been offered by our state to every county, city, school district and municipality in the state FOR FREE.
Cleveland Heights does currently have an Opengov.com system online that shows five years of budgets, and that is a great first step. Now, it is time to take it to the next level.
If a government employee knows that every penny he or she spends is going to be online, won't that change the way he or she views spending tax dollars? If our city was accountable to us, do you think they would continue spending $12,000 a year on city council meals? Or loaning money to private companies who default? Or borrowing and borrowing and borrowing?
This system is free and has already been offered to Cleveland Heights. Wouldn't you like us to get it?
Cuyahoga County has agreed to open checkbook, so has Geauga County, Lorain County and Mahoning County. The cities of Euclid, South Euclid and Eastlake have all signed up.
It is time to demand this from our city BEFORE our taxes go up again.
Julie Love has been a Cleveland Heights resident for 12 years. She is running for city council.