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Victoria County commissioners consider purchasing cards for employees

By Melissa Crowe
Aug. 6, 2013 at 3:06 a.m.


BUDGET SCHEDULE

Aug. 26 - Discuss effective and rollback tax rates, publish hearings of public meetings

Aug. 30 - File proposed budget with the county clerk

Sept. 9 - First budget hearing scheduled after commissioners court

Sept. 12 - Second public hearing, 1 p.m.

Sept. 16 - Adopt the budget and tax rate

County purchasing cards - or credit cards - could soon find their way into the wallets of county employees.

In an effort to streamline purchase processing and reimbursements, the Victoria County Commissioners Court considered a deal with CitiBank on Tuesday.

County Treasurer Sean Kennedy presented the proposal.

Employees currently use personal credit cards for travel and work-related expenses and are then reimbursed through the county, Kennedy said.

"We're going to start with just a small number of cards and explore how it works," Kennedy said.

County Judge Don Pozzi is currently the only person who has a county credit card.

Commissioner Clint Ives said there may be savings where fuel purchases are concerned.

These days, sheriff's deputies drive into town and refill at the city-owned pump but pay the city a surcharge for the use.

Billie Loep, with the city of Victoria Finance Department, said the markup is to cover the cost of administration, billing, maintaining the tanks and closing the tanks.

The city's most recent fuel purchase, made July 30, showed a gallon of unleaded fuel at $3.205 per gallon, including a 20-cent tax. Diesel cost $3.384 per gallon, including a 19-cent tax, Loep said.

Therefore, a gallon of unleaded from the city's pump costs the county $3.46 including the 8 percent markup.

For the 2012-13 budget, the county allocated $300,000 for fuel and oil in the sheriff's office.

Considering the markup and the cost to drive into town, Ives said, fuel cards or purchasing cards may be a prudent solution.

"I think we might get a better price on fuel," Ives said.

Although the process will be lengthy, he hopes to have it in place by Jan. 1.

The cards through CitiBank come with a minimum 1.59 percent annual rebate.

If the cards are used for large-ticket expenses, such as loads of asphalt for road repairs, Ives said, that may be another way the county can save money.

"The vendor would get instant payment, and we'd get a 1.59 percent rebate on a large purchase," he said.

The program would allow county officials to limit dollar amounts per transaction and monthly dollar limits and can block merchant categories.

The state also offers Retail Fuel Cards, but rebates for that program, and what Victoria County spends, could be 1.15 percent.

Ives said the state program is not as attractive as it was two years ago.

Kennedy was unable to provide the purchasing card program fees for late payment, but said that month's rebate amount would be forfeited if there was a late payment.

Ives said that would not be an issue because the balance would be paid monthly.

"We don't carry a balance on anything," he said.

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