MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Monongalia County Commission wants to be the first to sign on with OpenGov, a new statewide initiative from Auditor J.B. McCuskey.
“It’s a real-time system that allows access to every citizen in West Virginia to be able to see the revenue that’s coming in by tax type as well as all of the state’s spending, down to the check book level, in as close to real time as possible,” McCuskey said.
The website went live last month, and McCuskey wants local and county agencies to partner with OpenGov in an effort to create additional accountability.
“The sites will be essentially identical, but the information for one will be set by the budget and the spending of Monongalia County,” he said. “And the information for another will be set by the Auditor’s Office here in West Virginia.”
McCuskey pitched County Commissioners from across the state during a statewide association meeting, and Monongalia County Commissioners were on the phone with his office an hour later.
“If the people understand where the money comes from, how we got the money, and where it goes, then it resolves a lot of issues,” said County Commission President Tom Bloom.
Bloom said, Monongalia County’s current quest for answers about missing tax dollars notwithstanding, OpenGov creates both transparency and accountability.
“We’re going to be able to cut that down and really be able to show from one year to the next year where the money is going,” Bloom said.
McCuskey also said the lengthy and at times frustrating transition into the wvOASIS digital system has allowed the OpenGov system to thrive in West Virginia.
“It is working very well now, and none of this would be possible had we not begun the process of essentially being a digital state,” McCuskey said .
The cost for counties to participate is expected to be around $2,000.
Monongalia County Commissioners will be ready to vote on their own version of the OpenGov system within two weeks, Bloom said.
“We’re meeting with the County Clerk, who is going to do a lot of the work to find out what areas we need to work in,” he said. “Two weeks we’ll put it on the agenda, and then we’re going to approve this.”
“And we’re going to move this forward,” he added.