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West Chester launches OpenGov portal
Putting financial data within easy reach
West Chester’s checkbook is now available to view online with an easy-to-use platform powered by OpenGov.
The West Chester Board of Trustees initiated an online transparency project in early 2017, focused on making the community’s data more easily accessible to residents and stakeholders; and using data more effectively to create efficiencies in operations of the Township.
“West Chester is a successful community because it developed deliberately with good intent and purposeful actions,” said Board of Trustees President Mark Welch. “The OpenGov platform allows data to tell West Chester’s story of commitment to exceptional service & fiscal responsibility in a manner that is very accessible.”
The launch of this easily accessible Community Checkbook is the first phase of the transparency project which will also include crime data, zoning permit data, fire run data and much more.
Interest in making the Township’s financial data more readily available was piqued with the launch of the Ohio Checkbook by the State Treasurer’s Office. While the Treasurer’s program offers great transparency across the state, West Chester Trustees sought to take it a step farther.
West Chester’s Community Checkbook makes revenues and expenditures accessible to the public with the ability to filter down to specific departments, projects and transactions. Data, updated each quarter, can be viewed in different types of charts and graphs and the data can even be downloaded.
The platform is easily accessible from the homepage of WestChesterOH.org using the “Community Checkbook” button. Customers are taken to a landing page with some important information about how to navigate the portal and a few basic Frequently Asked Questions.
Once in the OpenGov portal, customers can dig deeper to learn more about how West Chester’s tax dollars are put to work. The platform offers an easy feedback option and customers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions about what they see when exploring.
“West Chester has always been transparent, but this new platform opens West Chester’s checkbook for a broader audience to easily view,” said Board of Trustees Vice President Lee Wong. “The platform encourages taxpayers to explore, learn more about the finances of the community and become engaged in local government.”
Further phases of the larger transparency project will include accessibility to non-financial data from multiple Township departments with the intention of creating opportunities to further increase efficiencies in operations.
In March, the Board of Trustees approved a three year contract with OpenGov totaling $152,000.
West Chester’s financial data (expenses only) will also be available as part of Ohio Checkbook at the State Treasurer’s website allowing users to compare and contrast the financial data of communities and agencies across the state.