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Commission approves one county credit card

 

Last updated 4/15/2022 at 11:54am



After at least two years of Hill County employees asking for county credit cards for work-related expenses, the Hill County Commission voted to approve one credit card for the county, with the intention to develop further policies that may see others approved.

Hill County Commissioner Mark Peterson said anyone who wishes to use the card should sit down with Hill County Auditor Kathy Olson, who will be managing it.

This approval drew criticism from Hill County Clerk and Recorder Sue Armstrong and Hill County Treasurer Sandy Brown, both of whom have been outspoken advocates of the county getting credit cards.

Advocates of the county obtaining credit cards for use by the departments have previously said that many governmental entities, including locally, already do exactly that.

The commissioners said Thursday’s vote was just a first step toward possibly implementing a larger policy that will allow for more departments to get credit cards, but Armstrong and Brown seemed skeptical of that considering that it took years of asking just to get to this point.

“Now you’re just going to take another five years to get the process moving again.” Brown said.

“Are you sure on that timeline?” Hill County Commissioner Jake Strissel asked.

Strissel and his fellow commissioners reiterated that this was just a first step, but Armstrong and Brown said there were a number of problems with it.

Armstrong said it was unfair that only one department was being approved for a credit card, and that the commission needs to trust its departments.

She said the point of county credit cards is to allow employees like her to make work-related purchases, which often need to be made on short notice or unexpectedly, without having to use their own money and wait for reimbursement, and having only one credit card for the whole county government defeats the purpose.

Brown said employees often need to pay for motel and hotel stays, and because they are typically expected to have the card on them to present when paying for rooms they will inevitably have situations where two people need the card at the same time.

Peterson said employees should plan around that, paying for rooms in advance, but Armstrong and Brown said hotels still need to be presented the card.

Peterson said the county can make arrangements to deal with that problem.

Armstrong also said all department heads should be involved in this conversation, a criticism she made of the county’s handling of the issue before.

“We’re trying, and I’m sorry it doesn’t meet your expectations,” Peterson said.

Brown said the county can attach more than one card to a single statement if that makes things easier, as well.

Strissel reiterated that this was just a first step.

“So what I’m hearing is, this isn’t going to work, by having this one credit card and taking this step is not going to work. Is that what I’m hearing?” he said.

When Brown attempted to respond Strissel, he interrupted and asked, “Is this going to work or not?”

The commission eventually voted unanimously to approve the credit card, with the stated intention to try to get more policies in place that may allow for more in the future.

Hill County Commissioner Diane McLean said it is the commission’s hope that the matter continues to move forward, but they still have a lot of questions about the limits and requirements they want to put in the policy.

 

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