Rhea eyes cards for purchases

Rhea eyes cards for purchases

May 16th, 2011 by By Kimberly McMillian in News

DAYTON, Tenn. - Members of the Rhea County Purchase and Finance Committee agreed last week to review the pros and cons of distributing bank purchasing cards for the convenience of county purchases.

Jeff Dobbs, treasury management officer of Regions Bank in Knoxville, told panel members that the cards were a "free product that can make you money ... and [give] cash back at the end of the year."

Commissioner Bill Hollin countered with a question about a fee charged to vendors and whether it might affect pricing on bids.

Dobbs said that it could, but that "more folks" use the method anyway.

Timothy Coley, vice president with the bank, told the committee that the county would have a pre-approval amount of $500,000 a month for purchases if they agreed to pursue the payment option.

Hollin emphasized a need to "talk to some vendors" about their comfort level with the proposed means of purchasing services or supplies.

The bank representatives offered to prepare a list of potential vendors that might agree to the payment method.

A Dillard Construction representative and Steve Hewlett, owner of Hewlett-Spencer LLC and the construction managing firm for the new high school in Evensville, Tenn., also were present at the morning meeting.

Chairman Ronnie Raper asked Hewlett if he would use the method.

Hewlett told Raper that he hadn't used it and didn't "think it'll be applicable for what we're doing."

Coley told the committee the cards could help with "day-to-day payables" and that they could place restrictions on where the cards can be used to avoid wrongful personal purchases.

Chairman Ronnie Raper dismissed the idea of discussion about the pending criminal case against County Executive George Thacker, who was absent from the meeting.

Thacker was arrested on May 6 in Knoxville and charged with soliciting a police officer impersonating a prostitute.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.