Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Something stuck out on the spending report ...

I happen to have worked in Accounts Payable in the past, and still sort of do. In AP “mileage” expense is defined as traveling you do for work, in your own car. Usually that means trips for meetings or conferences. You are reimbursed by your company with tax free dollars because the Feds think it is a good thing to encourage business. The amount that the Feds will let businesses reimburse is set by the Feds and businesses are supposed to use that amount because the reimbursements are untaxed. The amounts set for reimbursements vary every year, based on the cost of gas. And the Feds forbid reimbursing commuting mileage. I guess they figure everybody is in the same boat with commuting; you gotta get to work to get paid. Reimbursing commuting does not really encourage business.

I mention all this for a reason. On Councilman Bodack’s spending report, there is a 2003 expenditure of $1362 for “mileage”, followed by an expenditure of $1800 for 2004, 2005 and 2006. Perhaps $1800 is the maximum amount council will reimburse for mileage, and Councilman Bodack and his staff put more than $300 a month of travel on their personal vehicles, apart from any commuting mileage. I believe that would be a bit more than six hundred miles to cover on city business, for the councilman and his staff, every month (the current rate is 48 cents a mile, in 2004 it was 37.5 cents a mile). If council is reimbursing for business mileage, the Controller’s office should have records of every trip, to comply with Federal guidelines for providing money tax free to city employees.

This is on the public record, provided by Mr. Bodack. It’s not even on the spreadsheet the Dowd campaign had sent out.

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