The municipal office of Indio has racked up credit card bills amounting to $800,000 that were amassed during a two-year period. City authorities have been receiving a lot of flak lately for their lavish spending with many residents saying that they have been irresponsible and unsympathetic to the plight of Indio taxpayers. Residents are expected to pick up most of the tab made by city hall employees.
As a result, city leaders have stripped 64 employees of their city-issued credit cards. Currently only department heads and city managers are authorized to use their credit cards.
The city has been plagued with budget deficits in recent years and residents are criticizing city officials of not helping curb this imbalance by using credit cards irresponsibly.
Among the many questionable credit card purchases made by Indio City Hall during 2008 to 2009 include:
1) Over $9,000 worth of tickets spent for baseball and football games of LA Angels and Minnesota Vikings respectively;
2) $3,5000 worth of purchases on clothing and houseware items from retail stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond and Forever 21.
3) Travel and lodging expenses amounting to $3,000 which was incurred during a trip to Phoenix for a site visit to an aquatic center, as the city is planning to build a similar facility in the future.
4) $500 worth of plane tickets used by the wife of City Manager Glenn Southard.
Many of the bills in question on the other hand, have been found to be legitimate and legal. For example, $9,000 worth of sports tickets was used by youth city council members. The house ware and clothing items worth $3,500 were donated to a teen center program. On the other hand, City Manager Southard meanwhile explained that he paid for the plane ticket of his wife and that only his plane ticket was shouldered by the city. He also lashed back at critics saying that reports about his illegal spending were unfounded.
Glenn Miller, a City Council member acknowledged that many of the credit card purchases were for official purposes but argues that city authorities should have been more prudent with their choices considering the current dismal business condition in the city.
Residents echoed the sentiments of Miller, with many stating that credit card expenditures of city hall employees should be investigated and that those that are found to be excessive should be addressed by the judiciary.
Miller reassured Indio city locals that everything will be accounted for and that an investigation is underway to determine city employees who used misused their credit cards.