City council expense policy changes coming

Councillors agreed that the manager of corporate services bring back a revised council expense bylaw and policy for consideration this fall

City councillors held a special meeting on June 23 to discuss their expenses and reimbursed costs.

Councillors agreed that manager of corporate services Theresa Kingston bring back a revised council expense bylaw and policy for consideration and adoption this fall.

Council expenses are guided by travel and credit card policies as well as a council expenses bylaw, Kingston said. While the documents provide direction there is a grey area that needs to be clarified, she added.

Policy sets out that councillors can bill for expenses for business in town, out of town and representing council while in town.

Suggested improvements include identifying and clarifying specific incidentals covered by the remuneration; paying for the cost of a standard single room; changing per diem to reflect meal costs; and identifying specific expenses covered while attending official functions in the city.

Councillors cited examples of some annual functions they attend out of town, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting, that should be included as a regular function they attend.

Formerly, the mayor and a councillor attended the FCM. This may change to just the mayor being allowed to go, Kingston said.

One issue being looked at is applying the amount earmarked for incidentals to meal costs.

“This doesn’t increase the amount of money councillors are getting. It just redistributes it,” Kingston said.

Another area being tightened up is remunerating expenses for functions attended in the community.

Eligible in-city functions expenses include workshop fees, attending functions hosted by organizations the city is a part of and not-for-profit group events.

The issue of council remuneration arose after the city’s audit committee last spring requested clarification about the grey areas.

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