Branford finance board approves credit contingency plan

Branford Town Hall

BRANFORD — Should the town have any immediate needs that can’t wait to go through the regular procurement and purchase order process amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s now covered.

The Board of Finance took unanimous action this week on two resolutions:

To increase the limit of Assistant Finance Director Kathryn LaBanca’s Bank of America credit card from $5,000 to $50,000.

To issue a Bank of America credit card for Finance Director James Finch, also with a credit limit of $50,000.

Finch, who did not have a town credit card, told the finance board Monday night that if a situation were to come where the town needs to move quickly, or a credit card is the only way to pay for something, “We get approval in advance from the first selectman and then we actually use it.”

The plan is to keep Finch’s credit card at $50,000 only through the end of June, at which time it would be reduced to $5,000, and for LaBanca’s credit card also to go back to its original $5,000 credit limit at that time, Finch said on an archived online recording of the meeting.

“Basically, out of an abundance of caution, we decided that there may be times when the town needs to get their hands on something ... and they may be from non-traditional vendors,” Finch said Wednesday. “So if we need masks or suits” and the vendor won’t extend credit or only takes online orders requiring a credit card, Branford will be in a position to move forward quickly, he said.

The credit card for Finch is so if at some point, “the assistant finance director was basically ill from the virus and I was OK, then I could use the card.”

“This is really just as a backup scenario, where a purchase needed to be made and the preferred method with the vendor was the credit card,” Finch said. “It’s really a temporary measure designed for extreme cases, in emergency.”

Finch told the Board of Finance in a memo prior to the meeting that “as the Town tries to cope with the effects of the pandemic, we realize there may be instances where there is an immediate need for items to be purchased at companies where we do not have accounts or the purchases require payment in the form of credit card.

“This temporary credit limit increase will ensure there are enough funds available should multiple purchases be required,” he wrote.

Connecticut Media Group