City of Big Rapids to pay bills through credit cards

NEW POLICY: City Treasurer Jon Locke explains how a new credit card policy would give the city $27,000 annually for paying about $2 million of bills on a credit card. (Pioneer photo/Eric Dresden)

NEW POLICY: City Treasurer Jon Locke explains how a new credit card policy would give the city $27,000 annually for paying about $2 million of bills on a credit card. (Pioneer photo/Eric Dresden)

 

BIG RAPIDS — Bills that come to the City of Big Rapids now will be paid through credit cards after the city commission decided to update a credit card policy.

Treasurer Jon Locke asked commissioners on Monday to approve the updated policy after city officials met with representatives of Fifth-Third Bank. The bank offered the city use of its Michigan Aggregate Governmental and Institutional Consortium program, which gives annual rebates based on total value of credit card charges.

“It allows the entities to get a larger cash rebate,” Locke said. “In looking at some of the transactions the city already uses a credit card for and suggestions from Fifth-Third Bank … we realized the annual amount the city would potentially charge is in the neighborhood of $2 million.”

Locke estimates that would give the city an annual rebate of about $27,000. The city’s policy is changed to allow for a $200,000 line of credit, compared to $50,000 the city could use based on the old credit card policy.

Every department head has a city credit card, with a $5,000 maximum line of credit on it. That amount that can be used can be controlled by Locke.

Under the new plan, Locke would keep one card in the city vault that would be used for major city bills. That card will go under Locke’s name.

Although commissioners are supportive of the change, they warned Locke he needs to keep a wary eye on all charges.

“I have strongly encouraged (Locke) that he needs to stay focused with it and stay on top of it because it’s like an open checkbook,” Commissioner Lorraine James said, adding she had several conversations with Locke before Monday’s meeting.

In other news, commissioners also approved:

  • A resolution  renewing a contract with Hi-Tec Building Services for custodial services. The two year contract will cost the city $23,900 annually.

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