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Ponoka town council passes updated expense policy

Travel and meal reimbursement has changes made for first time in over a decade

Ponoka town council has approved several updates of an allowances policy that was over a decade old.

Among the major changes to the policy that applies to town staff and council were payback for meal allowances and paying out for non-hotel accommodations.

There are two options available for meals — full, but reasonable, expenses with receipt or via the allowance rates.

The previous rates — that had been in place since 2006 — of $8.50 for breakfast, $10.50 for lunch and dinner at $18.50 were raised by nearly double to $15, $20 and $30 respectively.

Meanwhile, a clause was added to note that if meals are included in any conference or meeting being attended, there would be no claim available for those meals.

An additional $10 incidental allowance may also be claimed for every 24-hour period the individual is away on town business.

For accommodations, the full cost of a hotel stay will be paid out — with proper receipts. However, an addition has been made to the policy that allows for camping fees to be reimbursed at actual cost or, if the individual has made arrangements to stay with family or friends, the amount of $50 per night will be paid.

No change was made to travel by vehicle, it will continue to be in step with the approved Canada Revenue Agency rate, 54 cents per kilometre in 2019, for the current year.

This may not be the last revision of the policy.

Mayor Rick Bonnett has questioned whether it may be prudent to do away with submitting receipts for meals and instead pay out a half-day or full day rate for meals, regardless of whether they are used or not. Bonnett has noted he brought this issue up because it’s how Ponoka County does it.

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