OREGON – The newly seated Ogle County Board reversed a 3-year-old budget cut when it voted itself a 54.5-cent increase for mileage reimbursement.
With just a handful of dissenting voices, the board, which was seated Dec. 3, approved an increase from 1 cent per mile to the 55.5 cents the Internal Revenue Service allows for tax deduction purposes.
Pat Saunders of Polo was one of the disapproving board members.
“I’m in favor of keeping it at 1 cent per mile to show our department heads and taxpayers that we’re serious about saving money,” Saunders said at the Dec. 18 meeting. “We’re not in this for the money – we’re public servants.”
Bruce McKinney of Rochelle disagreed. “I think county board members make a lot of sacrifices. They should be reimbursed for their mileage.”
County board members are paid for their trips to and from board and committee meetings and to attend to other county business.
Saunders, who lives about 17 miles from the Ogle County Courthouse, where the board meets, said the amount she will lose at the 1 cent per mile rate is not significant.
The mileage rollback started in December 2008 when the board agreed to decrease the reimbursement from the 58.5 cents per mile allowed by the IRS to 48.5 cents.
A few months later on Aug. 18, 2009, the board dropped the amount to 1 cent per mile, where it has remained since.
At that time, the measure was expected to save the county $16,000 per year.
Board Chairman Kim Gouker of Byron did give an estimate of what the mileage increase will cost, but said the hike will be at least partially offset by having fewer board committees.
When he established the committees in early December, Gouker reduced the number from 12 to 10.
County board members are paid a salary of $150 per month, plus $50 for each board or committee meeting beyond three that they attend in that month. The board chairman receives $400 a month.
A board member is paid the additional stipend only if he or she is a member of the committee that is meeting.