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Phil Perry/Coal Valley News - Representing the West Virginia State Auditor's Office, Josh Barker and Anthony Woods gave a presentation regarding a new transparency web site to Boone County Commissioners on Feb. 5.

MADISON - Boone County Commissioners viewed a presentation from Josh Barker and Anthony Woods regarding a transparency website the West Virginia State Auditor's Office is offering around the state to the legislature, county commissions and school boards.

"We've received really good feedback about it and we're going to show you what all it can do," said Woods.

The new site, developed by West Virginia State Auditor John McCuskey's office along with OpenGov, would allow open and free discovery of all revenue and spending for the state of West Virginia. OpenGov, founded in 2012, is used by more than 1,800 public agencies in 48 states.

"We've signed up 32 county commissions that are on board with the website and if Boone County decides to do it you will have your own domain and that will be boonecountycheckbook.gov," added Barker.

Logan County is serving as a pilot for the site and is set to be online and active by the end of February.

The site shows revenues, expenses and a checks and balances feature where citizens can track the bills that are paid and to which vendor receives county money.

The last audit for Boone County came at a price of $38,000. According to the auditor's office, the county can save $12,000 to $15,000 by participating because it can save resources and payroll related to identifying county records. The site is valued at $250,000 to $300,000.

The site comes at a cost of an initial investment of $3,000 and $150 per month after. Barker expressed that counties are asked to pay the fees but are not penalized if they are not paid.

"If you want it for free, the auditor will give it to you," Barker added.

Barker expressed that the site is controlled by the county.

"We are not implementing this site to watch you guys," Barker said. "This is your website and what you do with it is up to you. It is to save money and help you while letting the public know how you spend your money."

Commissioner Craig Bratcher spoke on the offering,

"I'd like to have a conversation with county clerk (Roger) Toney," he said. The (workload) will fall on his office."

Barker suggested going back at least five years on county records.

"As far as transparency, I'm 100 percent for it," Toney said by phone on Friday. "The thing is, I don't yet know how much time it is going to take and if we participate how explicit we're going to get in the details of what we're going to put in it."

If adopted, Deputy Clerk Jessica Kirk has come forward and offered to take on the responsibility of loading the information into the system.

"Her attention to detail is so strong that she is a good choice," added Toney. "She handles payroll and benefits already. I can't see how putting in every detail is going to work. We pay hundreds of bills every month. We have twenty-some electricity bills and water bills."

Toney said that going back five years and entering every utility billed paid would be burdensome but that entering the totals for specific years could be feasible.

Toney added that his office hasn't begun the process, but if a motion to use the site is passed by commissioners. subsequent training will help them understand the parameters of the tasks better.

The site will be a part of the Feb. 19 agenda and will be voted on by commissioners. The meeting begins at 3:30 p.m. in commission chambers located in the Boone County Courthouse annex.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry@hdmediallc.com or follow him on Twitter @philipdperry.com.

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