Taxpayers can keep an eye on money with online checkbook


CHAMPAIGN COUNTY — There’s a new way for people to keep tabs on their local government. It’s called the “online checkbook.”

With it, people can look at all the money going into and out of county departments. You can trace where your tax money has gone for the last few years.

They started working on this in 2012, so they have information from there forward. It’ll be updated every month after the county board meeting.

It will include things the county spends money on, like highway department equipment, new squad cars for the sheriff’s office or filtration systems for the nursing home.

There are already upwards of 50,000 individual transactions. County Auditor John Farney says this was a long time coming, but he’s happy they got it taken care of.

“Since the beginning of the data we have online, there’s over $324 million that was spent, so it’s important that people have the chance to see these funds because it’s everyday things that we may be paying for,” said Farney.

Farney says they had been using the same system since before he was born in the 70’s. They’ve been working on this update for almost four years now. Farney says they were able to do it within the budget, so it didn’t cost any extra.

There are some limitations to what you can find. You can search based on dollar amounts, vendors or even within certain time periods.

But any expenses having to do with HIPAA, like with cases involving the nursing home, won’t be on the list. The auditor also says it’s not currently possible to search based on which department used the money, but they’ll look into it for the future.

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