New Website, “www.wvcheckbook.gov”, Makes WV a State Leader in Financial Transparency
The West Virginia State Auditor, J.B. McCuskey, made a presentation at the August 7th Pocahontas County Commission meeting which introduced his office’s new website, www.wvcheckbook.gov. McCuskey explained that the website details all purchases by the State government in real time, and is searchable by any citizen who wishes to find out how their taxes are being spent by all state agencies, except for the State Board of Education, which so far has resisted being made part of the transparency website. When any purchase is made by a participating agency, that agency’s financial program automatically forwards the purchase to the new website. As an example, McCuskey went onto the live website, which was displayed live on a large screen in the room, and entered a search page. He said that since the WV Supreme Court is in the news right now for dubious purchases, he performed a search of the Supreme Court’s Government “P Card” purchases, looking for any purchases at “Victoria Secrets” over the past several years. Lo and behold, the website popped up a purchase at the Victoria Secrets Charleston Mall store in 2017 in the amount of $100.00. Since purchases at a store like Victoria Secrets cannot possibly be a valid or legal use of a Government Credit Card, McCuskey said that any citizen can click on a link to demand an explanation of that purchase.
He explained that expenditures as well as sources of income and tax revenues can be tracked. The site will also allow people to pull up comparison reports of revenues and spending for multiple years for the whole state or for specific agencies. Their goal, McCuskey explains, is to expand the site to include the revenues and spending for each of the 55 County Commissions, and all local county agencies and departments.
Certified Arborist Ken Beezley provided a report on the condition of the trees on the Courthouse lawn requested. There is a large dead Oak tree that needs to be removed quickly and 3 sugar Maple trees need pruning. He provided an estimate of $1900.00 to do this. Beezley also pointed out that the courthouse Maintenance has been treating the large Ash tree against the disease that is killing off ash trees, and said that was a great thing as untreated ash trees will perish but this one will survive. The Commissioners authorized this tree work.
In other actions, the Commissioners:
–Approved the 911 Center’s agreement, totaling $14,500, with city Net to provide 911 fiber internet services to the 911 Center, and approved a Memorandum of understanding with Pocahontas Communication Cooperative Corporation for their use of the 911 Center’s Thomas Town Tower.
–Authorized the Day Report Center to spend up to $15,000 for purchase of a used 4 wheel drive vehicle to transport Center and Drug Court clients.
–Received updates from the County Prevention Coalition, the County Senior Programs and the American red Cross.
–They authorized contributions to 6 non-profit organizations
- $5,000 to the County Prevention Coalition
- $4,000 to the Tucker Foundation
- $2,900.74 to the senior Programs for vehicle repairs, fuel and vehicle registrations
- $2,000 to the American Red Cross
- $5,000 to the Pocahontas County Historical Society to repair the Museum porch
- $750.00 to Bryans Battery to help put on the Droop Mountain Battle Civil War Reenactment in October.
–They discussed setting up a committee to revise the 911 Mapping and Addressing Ordinance
–They made the final payment and closed out the contract with Mike Vance to replace locks at the Former Shoe Factory building
–They approved putting up a 50% match of $134,553.84, on a grant to purchase new voting machines.
–They approved the emergency Absentee Voting Policy for the November General elections.
–They appointed Janet Ghigo and J.L. Clifton to 6 year terms on the Hospital Board of Trustees.
Bob Martin, the Commission’s Counsel, reported that the new sewer system in the Town of Durbin, will only raise sewer rates $5.00 per month, contrary to dire predictions of rates doubling or tripling.