Council declines credit card for official

Mike Linn

Citing the state’s stringent rules regarding charge cards for city officials, the Portales City Council opted to decline the city manager a credit card at Tuesday night’s meeting.
City Attorney Steven Doerr suggested City Manager Gerald Depo work on the reimbursement system for expenses tallied on business trips, which the council — and Depo himself — agreed to be much simpler method.
With city credit cards there is an anti-donation clause which prevents even the most innocent of transactions without prior approval from the council, Doerr said.
“Say you took High Plains Ethanol and the Ute Water project officials out for an important meeting and charged it on the credit card and it’s a valid meeting and it’s going to save the city money . . . what you are doing is incurring a debt without council approval and you do not have the authority under New Mexico law to incur a debt without council approval,” Doerr said.
Non-authorized use of a city credit card can result in criminal penalty and fines not more than $500.
The only other city employees with credit cards are firemen, who use them after transporting people in ambulances while on duty.
City officials said the firemen only use the cards in emergency situations, like when they can’t return to Portales and need a place to rest.
In other business, the council voted to annex 8.42 acres of land adjacent to the Portales Industrial Park into city limits.
The land, called the Southwest Canners Subdivision, will initially be zoned as residential, but Doerr said officials with the company can petition the planning and zoning committee for zone changes.