It has been more than 20 years since council's per diem rate was increased for the District of Squamish, and several years since the remuneration bylaw was reviewed.
At the July 23 council meeting, District of Squamish councilors discussed how meal and incidental expenses from attending conferences should be covered. The current bylaw allows $65 per day. For District staff members (but not councilors), if the conference provides meals, $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner will be reduced from the per diem allowance.
Mayor Karen Elliott suggested applying a similar meal breakdown to the council remuneration bylaw, rather than the full $65 allowance.
"If you're at UBCM, where a lot of meals are included but you get paid out $65 per day, you've reduced the amount of total budget available to then use on another conference versus just claiming the meals that you actually had to cover for yourself," Elliott said at the July 23 meeting.
Coun. Jenna Stoner, the chair of the meeting, agreed a breakdown would allow the budget to go farther.
Elliott suggested raising the amount for breakfast, noting $10 doesn't go as far as it used to. Coun. Armand Hurford said the allowance for all of the meals needs to go up, if the purpose of the per diem is to completely cover meals. He also asked if international travel could be covered by actual cost spent, accommodating exchange rates, within reason.
Elliott said staff should look into the amounts for meals, which should add up to the per diem amount.
An amendment to the bylaw could be made at the next council meeting, scheduled for early September.