Each member of the Apple Valley Town Council receives a $570 per month vehicle allowance as part of their $30,000 a year salary and benefits package that includes health insurance. I wanted to focus a bit more attention on this vehicle allowance and drill down a bit so that the readers can see what kind of tricks are being played on them.
When using a vehicle for business purposes, the Internal Revenue Service provides businesses and individuals two different ways to calculate the cost. All of the expenses can be itemized or the standard mileage deduction can be used. The IRS gives guidance on mileage reimbursements for vehicle travel each year.
Currently, the mileage allowance for 2018 is 54.5 cents per mile. This means that the IRS calculates that the average cost of driving a mile in your vehicle is 54.5 cents. This rate includes costs associated with vehicle registration fees, depreciation, lease payments, gas, repairs, and on-going maintenance like oil changes and new tires.
Obviously, as we all know, tracking costs and receipts for itemized deductions can be a pain so many simply use the standard mileage deduction. But that wasn’t good enough for the Apple Valley Council members. Nope!
Members of the Apple Valley Council decided that they didn’t want to keep track of the actual expenses incurred. Heck, they didn’t even want to even keep track of their mileage like the rest of the working stiffs and business owners out there like the IRS requires.
Shoot – they’re special. They just decided they would vote to give themselves a standard monthly allowance of $570. Easy-peasy. No need to keep track of receipts. And no need to bother writing down the actual mileage they drive to get reimbursements.
Now remember, Barb Stanton has no problem submitting reimbursement forms for her personal cell phone that we pay for each month. So, why do you think the Council voted to give themselves a standard monthly allowance?
Because it is all about the money. Follow the dollars. We all know that none of them drive enough to justify the $570 a month allowance. You better believe that if they were required to track their mileage, the records would show that. So the dirty little secret is that these Council members pocket the difference. That is the truth.
If you think I am being unfair, let’s look at the numbers. If you divide $570 a month by 54.5 cents, that gives you a mileage allotment of 1,046 miles. Do you really think any of these Council members is driving 1,046 miles for town Council business?
Let’s assume all the Council members live the farthest distance away from Town Hall (where they normally have two Council meetings per month). For example, it is just under 8 miles from Town Hall to the southwest corner of town, beyond Jess Ranch. That is equal to 16 miles round trip.
That means that each month, a Council member can make more than 65 trips per month to Town Hall from their home. That is more than two trips per day – for a part-time job that meets twice a month. Do Council members attend other official meetings throughout the month? Sure. But do you think they are attending multiple meetings every day? Of course not.
Let me ask you, the reader, a common sense question. If these Council members were driving more than 1,046 miles per month, do you think they would change the rule so they could itemize the miles and get reimbursed the greater amount? Of course, they would.
Next time you fill up your gas tank and pay $4 per gallon, remember that your Council members get to fill up their cars with your money.
When it comes to you and your tax dollars – you can bet your last one – that the politicians that represent you will vote to put it in their pockets.
Source: Apple Valley Review