Travel and Expense Reimbursement FAQs
What is approved for travel reimbursement?
- All travel and training must be pre-approved by your Department Director.
- Approved travel includes the following:
- Communicating with representatives of regional, state and national government on City adopted policy positions;
- Attending educational seminars designed to improve official’s skill and information levels;
- Participating in regional, state and national organizations whose activities affect the City’s interests
What is not approved for travel reimbursement?
- The personal portion of any trip
- Political fundraising or charitable contributions or events
- Family expenses, including partner’s expenses when accompanying a City official on City-related business, as well as children- or pet-related expenses
- Entertainment expenses (i.e., theater, movies (including in-room), sporting events, travel gym, other cultural events or personal reading material
- Alcohol/personal bar expenses
- Non-mileage personal automobile expenses, including repairs, traffic citations, insurance or gasoline
- Personal losses incurred while on City business, such as clothing and personal effects
When will lodging be reimbursed?
Lodging expenses are eligible for reimbursement ONLY when the following circumstances exist:
- The travel is approved by your Department Director
- The travel reasonably requires an overnight stay
How much of expenses will be reimbursed while traveling?
Approved expenses relating to lodging, meal, and incidental expenses are eligible for reimbursement per the General Services Administration Per Diem Rates. “Per diem” means the total daily allowance--excluding taxes--for lodging, meals and incidental expenses (such as parking). This should encompass all travel costs and does not include costs such as the price for the conference or training. These daily rates vary by location.
If you are seeking reimbursement for approved and eligible expenses, an itemized receipt is required.
All meals should have accompanying receipts, and if the receipt is for more than one individual or the purpose of the meal included more than one individual, the receipt should note all in attendance. A complete and accurate Expense Report, along with all itemized receipts, must be submitted to the Finance Department within 30 days of an expense being incurred.
For your information, here's a Link to the Full Schedule of GSA Per Diem Rates by location for Fiscal Year 2017-18.
What if a receipt is lost?
A memorandum to the Finance Director is required detailing the following:
- A description of and the purpose of the expenditure(s)
- The anticipated amount of the expenditure(s) (for example, hotel rates, meal costs, and transportation expenses)
- The dates of the expenditure(s)
For more information on union-specific information about maximum reimbursements for travel and training costs, see the Employee Agreements for your bargaining group.
When can City funds be used to pay for a meal?
Meals may be reimbursed for a substantial City business purpose and when participants are engaging in City business during the meal. All meal expenses must be pre-approved by your Department Director or Manager. Note: Alcohol is not an approved meal expense.
What must be documented?
- Itemized receipts for all transactions (note: a credit card charge copy is not a receipt)
- The date of the expense and name and location of the meal
- The business purpose of the meal
- The names of the participants and their titles or other information establishing their business relationship with the individual incurring the expense
What is the dollar limit per meal?
There is no specific limit for meal purchases, but must be “reasonable”.