Red Deer County allows expense hike

Red Deer County council members may be able to exceed their $6,000 limit on expenses so they can go to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference this spring in Vancouver.

Red Deer County council members may be able to exceed their $6,000 limit on expenses so they can go to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference this spring in Vancouver.

Council passed a resolution on Tuesday allowing expense accounts to go beyond $6,000 if necessary to attend the national conference from May 31 to June 3.

County administration had suggested the move, saying it’s been difficult the last couple of years to keep within those expenses involved in relation to the National Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference.

Mayor Jim Wood and Councillors George Gehrke, Penny Archibald and Doug Hoar will attend. Philip Massier and Richard Lorenz will not.

The councillor remuneration policy allows for an annual budget of $50,000.

It allows councillors to attend conferences, seminars, and workshops.

Expenses that are covered include the conference/course, accommodation, meal expense, travel expense and mileage.

Councillors also receive a per diem rate for days of attendance and travel to any sessions outside county boundaries.

Right now, if a councillor uses up those dollars, they either have to attend future sessions at their own expense or receive council support for more dollars.

Legislative Services Department manager Nancy Lougheed said the policy wasn’t changed to increase it from $50,000 because it was a policy adopted by council prior to the last election in 2010. It also included the help of an independent committee that sought public input.

“It gets reviewed every three years,” said Lougheed. “We actually have that process in place right now.”

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