Pitt Meadows council to tackle expense claims

Accept's Bell's motion to review travel and community relations budgets

Pitt Meadows council members could soon be copying their Maple Ridge counterparts by posting their expenses online.

On Tuesday, council unanimously supported a motion made by Coun. Bruce Bell to clarify the city’s policy on what politicians can claim.

Bell said the city’s policy is unclear in several areas. He used an example of attending Metro Vancouver board meetings.

He does not claim gas mileage for travel to the meetings, while others do.

“In my view, I’ve already been compensated for attending the meetings, so what’s being reimbursed,” said Bell.

“That’s where the policy is unclear. Obviously, it is unclear to staff because they have been paying it and it’s unclear to whoever has been claiming it. We need it cleaned up.”

Metro directors are paid $355 for every regional district board or committee meeting they attend. The fees double to $710 if a meeting runs longer than four hours. Metro Vancouver confirmed the payment is meant to include gas mileage for travel to and from the meetings.

Besides travel, council also wants more details on a “community relations” budget.

The budget is used to pay for tickets to events, such as the hospital foundation gala, flowers, city promotional items and the annual mayor’s breakfast.

It totalled $7,720 in 2013.

Mayor Deb Walters said council last reviewed its expense policy in 2006, so it’s about time for another review.

“Certainly, transparency is key,” she added.

“I agree with the motion, it shows due diligence and it also shows the public the number of outside appointments and events that council is involved with or is expected to be in attendance at to carry out the duties of their office during the course of their term.”

According to financial statements for 2013, Walters billed the city $1,550 for “other travel.”

Council is expected to review the policy in fall.







Pitt Meaodws 2013 Community Relations Budget

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