Gilbert council members decline travel allowance - East Valley Tribune: News

Gilbert council members decline travel allowance

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Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2010 5:48 pm | Updated: 3:55 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Members of the Gilbert Town Council are saying "no thanks" to a vehicle allowance intended to compensate them for driving their cars on town business.

Members of the Gilbert Town Council are saying "no thanks" to a vehicle allowance intended to compensate them for driving their cars on town business.

Three are refusing outright to accept any money from the town for mileage.

The allowances provide members of the council with $150 for travel up to 300 miles a month or $300 for travel up to 600 miles per month. Mayor John Lewis, who tends to travel more than some other council members on official town business, is the only one accepting his allowance.

Three council members - Les Presmyk, Steve Urie and Jenn Daniels - aren't receiving allowances but are reimbursed only the miles they actually report. Linda Abbott, Dave Crozier and John Sentz have declined any money whatsoever.

Abbott said it's important for the council members to show they're making sacrifices to close the budget shortfall just as other employees are doing.

"In terms of the overall shortfall, it may not have significant impact, but I think there is an effort of solidarity and support for the employees as they're making sacrifices," she said.

Urie said the allowances were put into effect when gasoline prices were around $4 a gallon.

The difference between the allowance and reimbursement option is that the allowances are distributed for anticipated travel even if the members don't use it all.

"If you go under that amount, you don't have to return any and you get taxed on it," Urie said.

The reimbursements, however, only compensate members for actual travel they've done. Any money left over goes back into the general fund, Urie said.

Crozier, who works more than 50 miles west of Phoenix, said he can travel up to 85 miles in one day.

He said the town's asking employees to give up certain things and cut back. He said he simply wanted to show that he's serious about cutting back as well.

"This is one way I can do it," he said.

Crozier said he might change his mind if gas spikes again to $4 a gallon.

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