Finance DepartmentDean Bott, Finance Director
400 Boardman Ave
Traverse City, MI 49684
SECTION I - GENERAL
1. These policies shall govern all officers, employees and persons employed by the County of Grand Traverse, also any other travel vouchers submitted to the County for reimbursement. Reimbursement shall be for those allowable expenses incurred while conducting official county business.
2. Compliance with these policies is the responsibility of the department head. The Statutory Finance Committee reserves the right to question travel vouchers which appear to violate the intent of this policy or to waive, where special circumstances warrant, any policy herein.
3. All officers, employees and persons traveling on official business are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business. Every effort should be made to obtain tax exemption for travel costs.
4. Actual travel expenses of persons, other than County Employees who are called upon to contribute time and services as consultants or advisors, must be authorized by the department head, and when necessary, the county administrator. Receipts must be furnished as required by these policies, with a complete explanation and justification for expenses shown on the expense voucher.
5. All travel other than normally assigned travel, shall be authorized and approved by the department head or other authorized person prior to departure. Sufficient budgeted funds must be available for such travel. Employees may take annual leave while traveling on official county business with prior approval of the department head. Any expenses incurred while on annual leave status shall be the responsibility of the employee.
6. The County's Travel Expense Voucher shall be used to document cash advancements for and reimbursements of allowable expenses (see addendum). A separate expense voucher shall be used for each employee's expenses, EXCEPT in those instances where an employee is in a custodial capacity and is responsible for and pays expenses of others while in the accompaniment of them. Vouchers should be submitted upon return to work, however, in no case shall they be submitted more than thirty (30) days after the expense is incurred.
7. When travel expense vouchers are supported by receipts which show signs of erasure or alterations, the voucher will be returned to the employee for a statement of facts explaining the reason(s) for the alteration(s) before further action will be taken on the request for reimbursement of expenses.
8. All out-of-state travel requests must be submitted in writing and approved by the appropriate department head and the county administrator.
SECTION II - REQUEST FOR CASH ADVANCE
1. Normally, all travelers on official county business are expected to provide themselves with funds to cover their expenses. With specific approval from the department head, a minimum $100 cash advance can be made through normal claims and accounts. Upon travelers' return a final accounting of the allowed expenses incurred or required receipts shall be submitted to the Finance Department using the travel expense voucher.
SECTION III - TRANSPORTATION
1. All travel should be by a normally traveled route. Travelers using an indirect route of travel for their own convenience, shall bear any expense beyond the amount which would normally be incurred by the usual route of travel.
2. Rental cars are to be used instead of your personal vehicle when the cost of doing so is less. (See addendum).
3. If travel is to be by public carrier (rail, bus, airplane or boat):
a. The traveler should make necessary transportation arrangements through the designated person in each respective department.
b. The expense will be allowed on the basis of actual cost. All travelers are expected to travel by the most economical mode of transportation.
4. If travel is by privately owned automobile:
a. The traveler will be reimbursed at the established rates (see addendum).
b. The maximum allowance will be the established mileage rate (see addendum), coach-class air fare (round trip), or rail fare (round trip), whichever is the lesser amount.
It is required that County travelers on official county business driving personally owned vehicles are properly licensed by the State of Michigan, and are adequately protected by personal liability and property damage insurance at their own expense.
No mileage will be allowed for travel between an employee's domicile and the official work station.
5. County-owned cars should be used when available and feasible. The driver must possess a valid Driver's License.
6. Special Use Assignments- The authority to assign vehicles rests with the County Administrator. Vehicles will be assigned on the basis of functional requirements of the employee's position and should not be construed as being a substitute for other compensation or as a fringe benefit. Vehicles are assigned and certain privileges in their use granted only as a means of providing effective management of County functions.
Employees may be assigned a vehicle to take home when their duties and responsibilities require emergency use or routine and regular conduct of County business before and after normal working hours; it is to the convenience and cost effectiveness of the County to assign a vehicle; or there is a demonstrated security risk which warrants such assignment to protect County property.
The use of a County vehicle for personal use, other than commuting to and from work and incidental personal business (including the transport of passengers) when directly on the route between the worksite and home, is strictly prohibited, except for unmarked police cars assigned to the Sheriff, Undersheriff, and Captains.
The employee will be required to maintain a written mileage log which substantiates all vehicle mileage and use. The log will be submitted to the Finance Department annually for the purpose of calculating the taxable benefit to be added to the employees' W2. The benefit will be calculated using one of the acceptable IRS methods. Law enforcement vehicles are not subject to IRS substantiation requirements, and are exempt from this requirement.
7. Limited Use Assignments- Vehicles may be assigned to departments in order to provide direct access to County owned vehicles to those employees whose positions require routine utilization of a vehicle during normal working hours. Take home responsibilities are not permitted.
SECTION IV - MEALS AND LODGING
1. Meal expenses will be paid on a per diem basis, which includes tips. (See addendum) The Standardized Travel Policy establishes the time schedule on which eligibility for meal reimbursement is based.
A. The full per diem will be paid for travel commencing on or before 6:00 a.m. and extending beyond 8:00 p.m.
B. Allowances for individual meals for daytime travel shall be based on the following schedule:
Breakfast - When travel commences prior to 6:00 a.m. and extends beyond 8:30 a.m.
Lunch - When travel commences prior to 11:30 a.m. and extends beyond 2:00 p.m.
Dinner - When travel commences prior to 6:30 p.m. and extends beyond 8:00 p.m.
C. Departmental employees frequently work other than the regular 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily hours worked by most county employees. When the assigned schedule involves mainly nighttime hours, allowances for individual meals shall be based on the following schedule:
Dinner- When travel commences prior to 6:30 p.m. and extends beyond 8:00 p.m.
Lunch - When travel commences prior to 11:30 p.m. and extends beyond 2:00 a.m.
Breakfast - When travel commences prior to 6:00 a.m. and extends beyond 8:30 a.m.
D. When the cost of meals exceeds the authorized per diem rate, receipts substantiating the entire expense shall be submitted for review.
E. An employee will not be reimbursed while at home, the official work station or while doing field work within Grand Traverse County.
F. Individuals and/or official guests in attendance at local conferences or meetings may be paid with department head approval.
G. If meals are provided by conference or meeting as part of the registration fee, per diem will be adjusted to reflect same.
2. Lodging expenses will be paid for room cost only. (See addendum) Receipts substantiating the entire expense shall be submitted.
SECTION V - MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES
1. It is expected that miscellaneous expenses incidental to official county travel will be held to the minimum amount required for essential and efficient conduct of county business. The department head or designated representative approving the travel voucher will be held responsible in the certification of all expenses as being necessary and appropriate.
Receipts must be furnished as required by these policies, with a complete explanation and justification for expenses shown on the expense voucher. Blanket statements such as "on official business" or "as directed" are not acceptable.
2. Parking, toll bridge, toll road and ferry boat expenses are allowable with appropriate documentation.
SECTION VI - POLICY EXCEPTIONS
Any department having special travel conditions which cannot be adequately covered under this policy may submit it's unique situation to the Statutory Finance Committee for special review and approval.