In its continued review of financial administration guidelines, the Casper City Council at its work session Tuesday looked at procurement of goods and services, change orders to projects, debt management, and investments.

"What we're trying to do is present to the council a guidance as to how these policies should be formulated," said Tom Pitlick, the city's financial services director.

This is more housekeeping that a wholesale revision of how the city handles its money, Pitlick said.

"Some of these policies we have now date back to the 1990s or the 2000s and a lot of things change, a lot of it is just cleaning up with titles, there are some thresholds that need to be changed to bring them up to state statute if council desires," he said.

For example, Pitlick recommended council change, by resolution, policies in procurement, according to the agenda for the work session:

-- Amend the policy for procuring items costing more than $1,000 to $20,000 to $2,000 to $35,000.

-- Raise bidding for procuring items costing more than $20,000 to $35,000.

-- The current policy requires all sole-source purchase requests to be referred to the council. Pitlick said the city manager should have the authority to approve a sole-source purchase request of up to $35,000. The Legislature allowed that in 2008. Any amount greater than that would need council approval.

Regarding change orders, the council would not only consider changes to a contract price, but also look at changes that would affect the original scope of a project.

Pitlick also recommended setting guidelines for determining the count of contingency funding and contract extension time frames that can be approved by the city manager.

The city's debt management policy is still good, and only minor changes are needed such as updating staff titles.

Regarding investments, Pitlick recommended setting up an "investment advisory committee" to craft investment policies that comply with state law while maximizing returns, evaluate the city's portfolio, and look at selecting firms providing investment management services.

"It's prudent to bring in some expertise from the outside to help give a little more guidance," Pitlick said.

The city cannot invest in anything that does not have a guaranteed return on investment, which limits the city to safe but low-return Treasury bonds or government-backed securities, he said.

The city council will continue to review its finance policies at future work sessions.

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