MORGANTOWN — A little more than a month after launching monongaliacountywv.opengov.com, a localized version of the wvcheckbook.gov website spearheaded by West Virginia Auditor JB McCuskey, the Monongalia County Commission is ready to make some upgrades.
The sites are an effort to put details of government spending online, providing a searchable, real-time accounting of expenditures.
The commission recently voted to partner directly with the contractor responsible for building both the state and local sites, OpenGov, in an attempt to make the county site easier to navigate and understand.
The county pay a one-time expenditure of $6,000 to OpenGov to rework the site, plus $4,000 annually. The agreement is for five years, but the county can opt out at any time with notice.
Commissioner Sean Sikora said the “Enhanced Citizen Deployment Package” will offer more information and ease of use compared to the more bare bones site the county received through the auditor’s office.
“As we came online with the project we’ve noticed there are some things with the way the information looked that might not be readily understandable to the public. So what we’re doing is a more enhanced project where they’ll come in and do a program specifically tailored to our specific accounts,” Sikora said. “It will go deeper into the weeds and provide the information in a better manner.”
Monongalia County was the first in the state to create its own transparency site. Sikora said Berkeley County has committed to being the second. McCuskey previously said his goal is to have a site for every county by the end of 2019.
The upgraded site will include a salaries component as well as a way to compare budget line items to actual expenditures.
County Clerk Carye Blaney said it will also feature more of the county than just its finances.
“It also adds a story line component which I think is very nice,” she said. “It helps sort of market the county.
In addition to the numbers and figures, it gives a little bit of story about the county and why we’re doing as well as we’re doing.”