Purchasing procedures changed

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County Commission Monday again changed the limit on purchases which can be made without the commission’s prior approval.

The commission unanimously voted to stick with the purchasing limit of $5,000 for the first 10 months of the year, and make it $1,500 for May and June, the last two months of the county fiscal year, to allow the commissioners to keep more of an eye on end-of-the-year expenditures.

“We decided to review the policy. We originally changed it to give the department heads more autonomy and rightfully so, since it’s their budget. But it was presenting some issues,” commission President Wayne Dunn said.

In May, the commission decreased the level below which purchases could be made without commission approval from $5,000 to $1,500. Officials said part of the reason for the change was to keep county officials from spending unspent funds in their budget at the end of the fiscal year.

During their meeting last week, the commissioners learned the change was causing problems because items, such as some utility bills were being flagged that did not need to be flagged and it was delaying payment.

Dunn said the commissioners originally established the $5,000 limit in 2013 to improve efficiency.

Commissioner Blair Couch said he wants a more in-depth review of the purchasing card audit.

“But I have no problem with raising the limit back to $5,000,” he said.

County Administrator Marty Seufer and County Clerk Mark Rhodes will meet with the auditor’s office over the P-Card audit, but no date has been set.

Seufer suggested the commission compromise by leaving the approval limit at $5,000 except for the last two months of the county’s fiscal year.

“For May and June make it $1,500,” Seufer said. “That should address the concerns and give you the opportunity those last two months to look over the expenses more.”

In other business on Monday, the commission purchased a full-page ad in the upcoming Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau Guide at a cost of $1,473.

County officials said the commission purchases an ad in the guide every year.

“I think it’s good to help them, we need to be part of it,” Dunn said. “It’s important we show support for the bureau.”

The commissioners said they will take the funds to pay for the ad out of the hotel-motel tax money allocated to the county’s parks.