It can be tough to get a healthy breakfast for $10 when you’re attending a conference in Toronto.
That was the thinking of Simcoe County councilors as they gave initial approval to increasing the per diem and meal allowances for themselves and county staff.
The proposed expense allowance caps daily meals and incidental expenses (such as wifi) at $80 for areas outside metropolitan areas and $100 for metropolitan areas, such as Toronto and Ottawa.
The county’s expenses policy hasn’t been updated since 2008. The daily limit was $60, and within that were meal limits.
“It was more of a hassle to get a healthy breakfast for $10 (than to submit receipts and be reimbursed),” said Tay Township Mayor Scott Warnock.
He suggested county officials stick to a new daily limit of $80, rather than to proposed increased meal expense caps of $15, $20 and $30 respectively and miscellaneous limit of $15.
Those limits are proposed to rise in metropolitan areas to $20, $25 and $30 for breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively, plus another $20 for incidentals, totaling $100.
Warnock also suggested only expenses justified by receipts be paid – that is, the per diem simply cannot be claimed while someone attends an out-of-county conference.
Oro-Medonte Deputy Mayor Ralph Hough said the county’s allowance is already generous enough.
“If we can’t afford to kick in a couple of bucks for breakfast, we shouldn’t be here. I would not support an $80 per day limit,” he said. “Any time I go to a conference, there’s a business breakfast one day, a lunch at AMO or a wardens’ dinner.”