(Posted May 24, 2017)
By Amanda Ensinger, Staff Writer
Mount Sterling village council is leaning toward participation in ohiocheckbook.com, a free online tool created by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel to foster fiscal transparency.
Laura Bowen, a representative from Mandel’s office, outlined the program at council’s May 22 meeting. She explained that participants—primarily government and school entities—voluntarily post all of their financial information to the website for the public to see. Several Madison County townships and municipalities have already signed on.
“Council decided that after we get through the audit, they will decide what they want to do with this,” said John Martin, village administrator. “We need to wait until we get the general fund repaired and finalize our recovery program, then we can come back to this.”
The village continues to address fiscal issues caused by criminal acts and negligence on the part of former village officials and employees, including former village administrator Joe Johnson.
Council member Diane Spradlin originally asked the board in September 2016 to consider participating in Ohio Checkbook.
“A lot of communities around here are doing this and in light of the recent issues we have faced, this would be great for the community,” she said at the time.
“We decided we will probably do this,” Martin said. “It isn’t hard to participate in; we just need to get some other things in order first.”
Council plans to revisit the possibility in July and potentially moving forward with participation at that time.
For more information on Ohio Checkbook, visit www.OhioCheckbook.com.
In other action, council discussed accepting the $150,500 bid on Johnson’s seized house.
“The net we will received from this sale is $140,118, which is within the amount we needed to net from this sale,” Martin said. “Now we are waiting on the bank to process the loan and anticipate a signing meeting soon.”
Council will soon set a date for an auction to sell off additional property seized from Johnson.
Council member Jim Davis provided an update on an effort to have students help with clean-up at Pleasant Township Cemetery.
“The county prosecutor will look into the liability of a student performing some clean-up at the cemetery,” he said.
Council members congratulated Tyler Curtis on passing his water operator test to become an official operator-in-training for the village.