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Seville sticking with state's fiscal transparency program

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SEVILLE — Mayor Carol Carter had the final say in the village continuing to participate in the OhioCheckbook.com program.

Council voted 4-3 Monday night to remain in the online program created by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel for entities to post financial information at no charge.

Prior to the meeting, Carter said a motion had been filed to terminate the village’s participation.

She said the motion came about after a resident notified the administration that Seville’s 2016 financial reports were not listed in the online program.

“Someone let it slide to get 2016 information up there,” Carter said.

The information is now up to date.

OhioCheckbook.com was launched Dec. 2, 2014, and the village enrolled in 2015. Seville is one of more than a dozen Medina County government or school entities that have agreed to post their financial records.

“I really wasn’t for it in the beginning because I didn’t see the purpose when all the information was a year old,” Carter said. “But if it’s gotten better with quarterly updates and technology is the way to go, I just said, ‘Why not?’ ”

Dan Risko, deputy director of public affairs for the state treasurer’s office, gave a presentation about the program to Council and about 30 residents who attended Monday’s meeting. Council members Kathy Rhoads, Rick Stallard and Gene Sulzener voted in favor of staying with the online program.

“I voted in 2015 originally to have the village of Seville participate in the program because I felt then, and today I feel, that it’s important to be as transparent as possible when spending taxpayers’ money,” Rhoads said. “The program takes little effort on our part and it’s free. So there’s no reason not to voluntarily participate.”

Council members in opposition were Brad Demiter, Sue Frey and Leslie Miller.

“The reason I voted against it is because I didn’t have all the information that Risko brought up Monday night,” Miller said. “I wish I had been given more information at the time.”

Carter said, “I think there was some hesitation and some thought it was repetitious.”

Carter noted village residents can submit a public records request to the fiscal officer if they wish to review financial documents.

“Our fiscal officer is at the office five days a week. If someone wants to look up our information online, they can (do it) 24/7 if they have a question.”

Despite her vote, Miller said she thinks enrolling in the program was a good decision.

“I’ve been in Council for 18 years and I’ve never made a decision that I regret,” Miller said. “We have to be transparent because we represent the residents that pay taxes.”

The village plans to add a link to its website that directs residents to the OhioCheckbook account.

Its account includes more than 19,000 individual transactions that represent more than $25 million in total spending over the last three years.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.



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