Zionsville to consider using purchasing cards

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The Zionsville Town Council introduced an ordinance that, if adopted at its next meeting, would grant purchasing cards to town employees making purchases on the town’s behalf.

Havard

During the council’s Aug. 3 meeting, Tammy Havard, the town’s CFO, said purchasing cards would be a more efficient way for the town to manage funds. The purchasing cards would use Indiana’s purchasing card program, “with the added benefit that all the spending of the participating governments is pooled to increase the rate on purchases that each get back in the form of an annual rebate,” Havard said during the meeting.

“A common concern that we’ve heard with purchase cards is an increase for misuse of public funds,” Havard said.

But Havard argued the cards have a greater level of accountability because they include multiple approvals, detailed reporting and spending controls. In addition, each card would be under a specific employee’s name, allowing the town to easily trace purchases. In other programs, cards are given to departments, and it may be unclear who made a purchase at any given time.

Should the town choose to implement the program, only department heads and their main purchasers would receive a purchasing card to start. Eventually the town hopes to expand the program to include employees who travel or “make any type of purchases on behalf of the town,” Havard said, adding that the town hopes to eliminate employee reimbursements. The program would replace other town purchasing programs.

“This is important, as the employee is fully responsible for the use and can be held accountable,” Havard said. “If a detailed receipt is not provided, the employee will be required to reimburse the town.”

Havard, who was appointed to her role by Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron in June, said she had implemented a purchasing card program with success 10 years prior to becoming the town’s CFO. Havard previously worked for the City of Westfield as a Financial Strategist.

“We’re looking forward to streamlining the small and large purchases on the cards so the time can focus value-add time on other activities while reducing the administrative overhead of adding vendors and cutting individual checks.”

Heather Willey, the town council’s legal council, said the town wished to create “a clear checks and balances on spending” when designing the program and drafting the ordinance, which requires all purchases to be approved by the town council as part of its monthly approval of claims.

The ordinance was introduced during the Aug. 3 meeting. The council will consider its adoption at its Aug. 17 meeting.


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