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The recently passed Local Government Travel Expense Control Act has changed the requirements for local governments as it relates to the reimbursement of travel and meal and lodging expenses of officers and employees. Under this act, all local governments must pass a resolution or ordinance prior to June 29, 2017, outlining their reimbursement policy. The ordinance or resolution should specifically address the following points:

  • Types of business for which travel, meals, and lodging are allowed
  • Maximum allowable reimbursement for such expenses
  • Creation of a standardized form for submission of such expenses

Failure to adopt such an ordinance or resolution by the June 29, 2017, deadline would mean the local government could not, by law, reimburse any such expenses.

The ordinance can include a provision allowing for reimbursement of expenses that exceed the maximum allowable amount because of emergency or extraordinary circumstances. As part of this Act, effective March 1, 2017, all expenses in excess of the maximum allowed under the approved reimbursement policy, as well as any reimbursement of expenses submitted by a member of the governing Board, must be approved by a roll call vote. If a reimbursement policy has not been formally approved by March 1, 2017 (as one is not required until June 29, 2017), all such expenses would go before the Board for a roll call vote.

For any expenses that must be approved by a roll call vote, such approval is contingent on the submission of specified documentation, including the name and title of the individual requesting reimbursement, the date of travel and description of the event, and actual receipts for costs incurred or an estimate of costs to be incurred. All such documentation is subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rules.

This Act also prohibits reimbursement for entertainment expenses, which is defined to include shows, amusements, theaters, circuses, sporting events, or any other place of public or private entertainment or amusement unless ancillary to the purpose of the program or event. The Act does not pre-empt home rule powers.

Ed Tracy

As an audit shareholder and head of the firm’s governmental audit practice, Ed Tracy directs the supervision of audit engagements, the majority of which are in the government and non-profit sector. In addition to his role as an accountant, Ed especially enjoys serving as a sounding board for his clients, and helps them develop creative solutions for broader management and business issues.