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Dylan Vidovich/Logan Banner Josh Barker, left, and Gordon Lane, two liaisons for the West Virginia State Auditor's Office, present the Chapmanville Town Council with information about transparency website WV Checkbook during the council's regular session on Tuesday, July 9.

CHAPMANVILLE During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, July 9, the Chapmanville Town Council voted to begin using WV Checkbook, which is the State Auditor's new transparency website.

All 55 county commissions have been tapped to use the website with many of them already online and other government bodies, including the Logan County Board of Education, have also agreed to come online. The site allows such agencies to share all of their financial information transparently and in real-time, thus, in theory, reducing the need for things like Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Josh Barker and Gordon Lane, who both work for the State Auditor's Office, presented the website to the council. According to Barker, who is Chapmanville Mayor Raamie Barker's son, fire departments and school boards are going to be mandated to use the site, and municipalities and county commissions are next.

"The site has already been up and going about two years now," Barker said. "All the transactions that are done with the state are done probably within a 24-hour period, so if we go out tomorrow and buy a car, you can go on there tomorrow and see that we bought a car from Stephen's Auto. This lets the public know every penny you that you spend every penny that goes in and comes out."

The site comes at no cost to the town of Chapmanville, and there is no contract, meaning the town could opt out of the program at least until it becomes mandated.

Barker said he believes Auditor J.B. McCuskey's ultimate goal with the website is to cut the costs and cumbersome efforts of audits. Even in the event of a disaster, financial information will be readily available thanks to Checkbook being on a cloud-based system.

"If this building (Tracy Vickers Center/Town Hall) burnt right now, today, you can go tomorrow and start the town next door with this website," Barker said. "You can have all your funds and everything pulled right up."

The council members were unanimous in supporting the website's implementation. Councilwoman Robin Adams Mutters made the motion to approve it, and newly seated councilman Gary Bledsoe seconded the motion.

The Chapmanville site will have its own domain when it goes up. Follow updates on this story and more in future editions of The Logan Banner.

The City of Logan's council also expressed interest in joining WV Checkbook at their meeting two days later on Thursday, July 11. Mayor Serafino Nolletti said it will likely be put on the agenda for the August meeting.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.

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