Mon County first to launch new transparency site

MORGANTOWN — Monongalia County is the first in the state to launch a localized version of the wvcheckbook.gov website spearheaded by West Virginia Auditor JB McCuskey.

McCuskey was on hand Wednesday as the Monongalia County Commission announced the launch of monongaliacountywv.opengov.com.

The sites are an effort to put details of government spending online, providing a searchable, real-time accounting of expenditures.

“Monongalia County wasn’t just first, you were first by a lot. You jumped in with both feet. I’m proud of the work you guys did and I’m proud to be partnering with you guys,” McCuskey said.

McCuskey previously explained that the state’s contract with Opengov is worth about $300,000. It’s because of that contract that the localized sites are available for a nominal cost. Commissioner Sean Sikora said the commission has yet to be billed for the site, but was previously told it would cost about $3,000.

Sikora said the county’s site has data from the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, but is still a work in progress. He said data involving salaries is still being loaded onto the site.

“It’s a very user-friendly site.’ You’ll be able to see every penny that was actually spent in the county,” Sikora said. “Again, we want the public to see this. We want the public to go in and tweak it.”

The site also includes a method for requesting additional information.

“Say for this particular transaction you wanted to ask a question about it. You’d put your name in and send what your question is, and we’ll look at it and reply,” Sikora said.

Additionally, frequently accessed data — like West Virginia Supreme Court spending on the state’s site — can be linked on the website’s landing page. McCuskey said the supreme court link will soon be replaced with a link that compiles spending tied to the state’s Roads to Prosperity Program.

McCuskey said he’s visited with 31 county commissions in recent weeks and is hopeful every county in the state will have its own site by the end of 2019.

“It’s so great to see the work we’re doing start to come to fruition, because it only works if it’s everywhere,” he said.

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