North Dakota county to implement OpenGov software

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MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — Morton County will soon join a handful of local governments in North Dakota using OpenGov, a cloud-based software for government entities to basically publish their checkbook for the public to see.

County Commissioner Cody Schulz said county officials began serious discussions about providing its financial information online in August.

He said OpenGov offers "ease of use" for residents in a geographically large county where some people are 50 miles or more from the courthouse in Mandan.

"We wanted to make sure they had access to information on demand when they wanted it without having to travel," Schulz said.

County Auditor Dawn Rhone said the public will be able to view information such as departments' budgets, including line items and vendor payments, going back about five years.

"I think it's just a good tool to provide the taxpayers so, if they do want to see what we're spending our money on, it's all right there at their fingertips rather than someone who wants to know is not very likely to come in here and dig through paper, but if they can do it sitting at home and look through there, it's just a better way to be transparent," Rhone said.

Other governments in North Dakota that have partnered with OpenGov include Cass and McKenzie counties and the cities of Fargo and Grand Forks.

Cass and Grand Forks launched their portals in 2014, while McKenzie County's will go live in a month or two, said McKenzie Auditor/Treasurer Erica Johnsrud.