Cutting out plastic

By Jessica Dempsey

August 16, 2017 3:25 PM

Coun. Michael Diachuk. FILE PHOTO

City council has asked administration for more information regarding the implementation of a purchasing card (p-card) system.
At Monday’s city council meeting a lengthy discussion between councillors occurred about a possible p-card program.
While many councillors were in favour of it, others wanted some more in-depth information to ensure they would be used correctly.
Currently, the city is using traditional credit cards, 46 in total with a credit limit of $150,000.
“The benefits of the p-card, that city administration talked about, was it can limit, or in essence reduce our cost of completing the process of payment dramatically, which is certainly a big benefit,” said Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
However, questions were brought up about the controls and security around using the program.
“I also understand the need that we want to make sure we are very clear, very open to the community when we are spending money that the accounting and it’s controls is in place,” said Aalbers.
Coun. Jonathan Torresan brought up his reservations about internal controls with the proposed purchasing card program.
“I realize that comes at a much higher cost to do the traditional system, so really my concern is whether we have the proper system of internal controls to make sure we can have accountability and make sure everything is going the way it should be,” said Torresan.
Administration was asked to provide more information and clarity on the proposed program.
“Depending on the industry you work from or come from, some industries have engaged p-cards very prominently, others haven’t,” said Aalbers.
Coun. Michael Diachuk was the one in full favour of the program, having previously used them in the school division.
“I just think they are the right system to go, and I certainly support the direction. I think eventually we will get there,” he said.
Coun. Glenn Fagnan was also in favour of moving to a new system of a purchasing card program.
“I’ve had previous business experience with it, and they have always worked very well. People have to be accountable, and it’s so great you are able to track individuals and allow them certain limitations … it’s much more efficient and has safeguards,” said Fagnan.
With the purchasing card program, the limit would be increased to $625,000.
Many purchases would be to pay for items that would traditionally be paid by a purchase order or a cheque, and at the end of the time frame, only one payment would need to be paid.
“In essence we are going to eliminate duplicating cheques, is what we would be able to do, instead of sending a cheque to vendor A, and a cheque to vendor B and C, we will be able to issue one cheque to the procurement card company, and that will cover off those three cheques,” explained Aalbers, adding in some cases those cheques could be $300,000.

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