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Councillors can't afford out-of-town trips because of gas prices

32-cent-a-kilometre mileage rate paid for out-of-town trips barely covers fuel costs, leaving city staff and council members out-of-pocket for other vehicle costs
2022-03-11 Gas pump
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Through-the-roof gasoline prices mean city councillors and staff are now losing money if they use personal vehicles to travel to out-of-town conventions and other events.

"With gas prices recently as high as $2 a litre, the cost of filling up a small SUV is close to $100," says Shelley Schell, city treasurer and chief financial officer.

At this week's City Council meeting, Schell will ask for elimination of a 32-cent-a-kilometre limit on mileage paid for trips longer than 250 kilometres. 

The city pays 56 cents a kilometre for destinations less than 250 kilometres away and Schell wants that mileage rate to apply to all trips in personal vehicles.

"The decreased mileage allowance barely covers the cost of fuel and does not allow for reimbursement of other personal vehicle costs," she says in a report to Mayor Christian Provenzano and councillors.

"Rental of a vehicle versus use of a personal vehicle for travel also has some challenges in the current environment. Supply chain issues have made availability of rentals less and the cost of a rental has increased substantially."

"With corporate travel resuming and more reliance placed on using personal vehicles, a fair compensation should be provided to councillors and employees."

"The bylaw still states that the use of economical means of travel to the destination is to be considered for all travel."

"The cost of travel to destinations greater than 250 kilometres will increase," Schell says.

"Further distanced destinations are typically travelled to by air so the impact will not be substantial. All departments will manage the change within their current travel budgets."

This week's City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday because of the Victoria Day long weekend.

The meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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