Jefferson on long road of county visits for State Auditor J.B. McCuskey
CHARLES TOWN — Jefferson County was stop 21 in a line of 55 county commission visits for West Virginia State Auditor J.B. McCuskey, who came before the Jefferson County Commission on July 19, to encourage the county to join the state’s online transparency project.
A PowerPoint presentation shared details of the state website, allowing anyone to see how public funds are being spent.
McCuskey said the website was recently ranked as the No. 1 transparency website in the country.
“There are not too many things West Virginia is No. 1 at,” McCuskey said. “So I’m pretty proud of this.”
According to McCuskey, the website allows users to see in as near to real time as possible where taxpayer dollars are being spent in individual departments and in the state as a whole.
The website, www.wvcheckbook.gov, will hold all of the state and county data in one website, according to McCuskey. Indicating his hope that all counties will join in the project, McCuskey said the cost to each county would be approximately $3,000 the first year and $1,800 each year after. If a county does not have enough money in their budget to join the project, the state will assist. The counties will be able to look at their revenues and expenditures, as well as compare to other counties in the state.
The transparency site allows anyone to access information. It can be done anonymously or with identification, McCuskey said.
When demonstrating how the site works, McCuskey showed how easy it is to find the amount of funds awarded to any individual contractor or company.
“If everyone knows the costs, the costs will go down,” McCuskey said. The benefits of the transparency project could save money by not only monitoring what funds are spent on, but by creating a level playing field for companies doing business with the state.
The commissioners seemed to be impressed with the program, giving overall positive feedback to McCuskey.
“I cannot wait to see where this goes in the next few months,” said JCC President Josh Compton, mentioning the site will be beneficial not only to state and county officials but to the general public as well.