The Grenada City Council has changed its March meeting so some of the members can attend the National League of Cities Conference in Washington.
Our council can’t get the city out of the red, but, they sure know how to spend our money on trips!
We have filed the following Freedom of Information Request. We’ll let you know how it comes out.
1. A list of all city personnel attending the March 2014 National League of Cities Conference.
2. Detailed and total expenses to the taxpayers of each individual; including advance allowance, expense
filings, receipts, and any reimbursements to the City for overpayment.
3. Any and all payments made directly to the National League of expenses for dues, registration, seminars, or any other expenses.
4. Any and all payments made directly to the hotels used by city personnel.
5. Any and all payments made to restaurants by city personnel in connection with the trip.
6. Any and all payments made to airlines, cabs, limousines, car serves or any other transportation for city personnel in connection with the trip.
According to the NLC website, the conference runs from March 8 through 13.
Registration is $545 for members and $775 for non-members. We don’t know what the dues are to become a member. (Ask your councilman, he is sure to know.)
Rooms at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, the convention hotel, are listed at $284. We would hope that a big convention like that would get the rates down at least to the accepted area per diem rates.
The per diem rates for March in Washington, D.C., are $211 for lodging and $71 for meals and incidental expenses, according to //per diem-rates.findthedata.org.
We ran a quick estimate on five nights at $211, five days at $71, $575 registration, and $406 for each airplane ticket, airport parking in Memphis, and airport transportation in Washington about $110.
We came up with $2,501 per councilman. If five go, taxpayers are on the hook for $12,505.
The lowest airline ticket we found was $406, but there were only two tickets left. We hope they have already booked their flights.
(The listed per diem rates for Gulfport/Biloxi are $82 for lodging and $56 for meals and incidentals. We’ll look at this again when the city council jaunts down to the Mississippi Municipal League Convention.)