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Councilman Foster Douglas Requests City Credit Cards Report

6:31 PM, Jan 6, 2014   |    comments
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HIGH POINT, N.C. --  A city councilman who owes the city of High Point more than $30,000 is asking questions about fiscal responsibility.

Councilman Foster Douglas requested the statements for all city-issued credit cards because he says he wants to make sure city money is being properly spent.

These cards are also known as procurement cards.

Douglas has his share of money troubles

He was ordered to pay the city's legal fees after losing a lawsuit more than ten years ago. With interest, his debt has grown to $32,000.

Last month, his home in High Point was going to be auctioned to pay down the debt but he filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy - stalling that sell.

WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower spoke with the finance director for the city of High Point about Douglas' request.

"Manpower hours equates to almost a week's worth of staff time," explained Jeff Moore, Financial Services Director, City of High Point. "We've got about 37 hours invested so far."

Page by page, and receipt by receipt - employees in the city's purchasing department put together spending reports for all 365 city-issued cards from the last 4 years.

"He specifically requested as far back as we had information," said Moore.

"We are going back and are redoing efforts in response to this request."

The average monthly bill for all cards is $375-$400,000. The limits range from a couple hundred-dollars to several thousand.

"Fleet might have a $5,000 single transaction limit, but the most they can spend per month is $35,000," explained Moore.

"[The limit]depends on what the departments have identified as that departments' specific need."

Employees must turn in their receipts each month. Their supervisor, department head and the city's purchasing department review the receipts and the bill.

"We've got almost 8,500 pages worth of transaction reports," said Moore.

"We have not elected to print that because it's basically two cases of paper plus printing charges it's about $220 plus staff time just for one set copy set."

Time spent on this project means time spent away from an upcoming bond sale deadline and industrial park deal. 

Moore says despite the added work, Councilman Foster Douglas' request is not a waste of their time. 

"This is just one thing that we do in the many things of local government, and going through the documentation process that's part of the game."

WFMY News 2 checked the city-issued credit cards for other Triad cities.

Greensboro has 481 city-issued cards. They have 3,000 employees. Winston-Salem has 242 cards. They have 2,600 employees. 

The city of High-Point has 1400 employees.

WFMY News 2

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