The City of Logan will be able to track purchases online and keep a closer eye on expenditures soon when it goes to the state’s Visa Purchase Card Program.
Beth Thompson, a representative for WV Auditor Glen Gainer III was at the council meeting to answer questions and give information about the project, which also provides a cash-back incentive for purchases.
State Auditor Glen B. Gainer III developed the Local Government Purchasing Card Program in order to bring all local government entities into a single purchasing card program and replace the various card types existing today across county and municipal governments. The P-Cards helped to create more accountability for purchases, improve relations with vendors and save the State millions through cost avoidance.
Thompson pointed out that on a daily basis supervisors can log onto their accounts and see what is being purchased and where, as well as being able to set limits on purchases via money amounts, date or time.
Thompson noted the P-Card is an alternative to older methods of payment that is more flexible, easier to keep track of and to monitor.
“We recently signed up the town of Man and the Logan County Commission was in on the pilot program with us,” she said explaining that the cards were basically VISA cards issued by a West Virginia bank.
“A one percent rebate is available for users,” Thompson added.
“It lets your money stay in your account longer so you can collect interest. It also creates an
electronic trail for purchases and it has fraud protection.”
Accounts can be monitored online daily and Thompson noted that if the city was interested they could discuss the matter, arrange for a vote and a training session could be set up for city employees and department heads. A monthly statement for each cardholder along with a master statement is also issued, she noted. The cards have a 30 day billing cycle and if a payment is 45 days late the card is frozen. There are no annual fees and Thompson provided the council with a list of 100 vendors who accepted it.
“I asked (Man Mayor) Jim Blevins about this and he said their town was pleased with it,” Mayor Nolletti said.
City Accountant Jeff Valet said he liked the idea, providing there were controls put in place to avoid misuse or abuse. Councilman Mike Allie said he would like to discuss the controls and limitations on the cards.
“Who will have them,” Allie asked.
Thompson noted that misuse of the card was a felony offense.
Following discussion the council agreed on approving the measure with Allie abstaining from voting.
For more information about the cards check out the auditor’s web site at http://www.wvsao.gov/purchasingcard/
Councilmembers also heard from representatives of the E.L. Robinson engineering firm about a trio of design options for the upcoming replacement bridge to Midelburg Island.
There were three designs shown. Each of the designs had the same statistics in terms of how sturdy the bridge would be, however, the costs were different. One version of the bridge was constructed primarily of steel. One was of concrete. The third was a prefabricated structure.
Tom Rayburn of E.L. Robinson said the council did not have to decide on Tuesday night, but that the plans were to give them some idea of what the bridge would look like.
The steel version was estimated to cost $417,000. The concrete version was estimated to cost $455,000. The prefabricated version was estimated to cost $493,000.
Mayor Serafino Nolletti said there was one problem — cost.
“Our engineering fees were around $100,000,” Nolletti said. “We have $500,000 for the project. That leaves us with about $402,000 to build it.”
Rayburn said cost might not be so big an obstacle after all.
“It is possible it could come in under bid,” Rayburn said, noting that if the city could find a cheaper way to handle demolition on the old bridge it would be even cheaper by about $7,000. When the Mayor asked if a different contractor could handle the demolition, Rayburn said “yes.”
“Everybody in contracting is sort of hungry right now,” Rayburn quipped.
Rayburn said the concrete bridge and the prefabricated version would be quicker to build than the steel version.