Ellis County Commissioners on Monday will decide whether to adopt a policy for credit cards used by county employees.

If adopted, it will be the first for the county.

“We don’t have a purchasing card policy,” said County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes. “We’ve never had one. Most other counties do.”

The idea is to better monitor county expenditures, said Smith-Hanes, who will present the new policy to the commission at its regular 5 p.m. meeting Monday at the Ellis County Administrative Center, 718 Main, in Hays.

The commissioners in September requested a policy be developed. A task force of employees from the County clerk’s office, sheriff’s department, public works department and the county administrator looked at policies from five other Kansas counties and decided to propose Ellis County adopt one from Miami County.

“It hasn’t worked well not having one, which is why we’re doing the policy,” Smith-Hanes said.

There are 106 purchasing card accounts. Nine are assigned to vehicles in the Ellis County Emergency Medical Services Department. The other 97 go to individual employees and elected officials, he said.

Of all the cards, 54 have a credit limit of $1,000, including those of the three commissioners.

Department heads have the following limits: IT, $25,000; health/EMS, $25,000; register of deeds, $10,000; appraiser, $10,000; sheriff, $10,000; public works, $10,000; fire/emergency management, $10,000; county clerk, $5,000; county treasurer, $5,000; court administrator, $5,000; and Smith-Hanes, $5,000. The county attorney doesn’t have one.

Cards with the highest limits are: Public works shop foreman, $30,000 and public works business manager, $20,000. There are $10,000 limits on cards for buildings and grounds manager, road superintendent, undersheriff, parts clerk at public works, landfill foreman, and two employees in public works and one at the health department that do a lot of ordering of supplies, Smith-Hanes said. For the first 11 months of this year, said Smith-Hanes, the average monthly amount charged to all cards countywide was $51,157. Credit cards are an advantage for vendors, because they don’t have to wait to get paid as their payment is processed through the lengthy accounts payable process, he said.

“They’re also necessary for travel,” Smith-Hanes said. “You can’t rent a car or book a hotel room without a credit card. ”The credit cards are issued through Commerce Bank, Hays, which rebates a small percentage of what’s charged. While some cards might reward users with miles and cash back, Smith-Hanes said government credit cards don’t get those kinds of rewards because there’s a cost to the bank to build in security for so many cards, which are not as easy to service.Also on the agenda for the commission on Monday is a change of classification for two vacant Public Works bridge crew positions to higher paying heavy equipment operators; and deciding how to use excess sales tax proceeds.