SUNSET -- City council members here want $9 more a day for meals when traveling on city business.
The council is considering increasing for staff and elected leaders the per diem for meals from $32 to $41 per day.
The council discussed the increase at its meeting this week before tabling the issue for further discussion.
The council meets next at 6:30 p.m. April 16 at Sunset City Hall, 200 W. 1300 North.
The delay will give the council time to re-evaluate the figures, and to make the necessary changes to its current reimbursement expense policy should it choose to increase the meal per diem.
Currently, Sunset officials receive $7 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $15 for dinner when attending an out-of-city conference or function, City Recorder Sue Hale said.
Those meal reimbursement costs have been in place since 1994.
City Councilman Ryan Furniss said he brought the issue to the council for discussion after talking with leaders in other municipalities, and becoming curious as to how Sunset determined its level of reimbursements.
Furniss said he would like to see every meal allowance increased by a few dollars over the current levels.
"If you go to McDonald's, you're not able to cover breakfast cost with what the individual receives. You can't even get a hot dog and a Coke at a (Salt Lake) Bees game for $15," Furniss said.
One solution being considered is to raise the city's meal per diem rates so they are in line with the U.S. General Services Administration rate, which recommends $7 for breakfast, $11 for lunch and $23 for dinner.
Sunset Mayor Chad Bangerter said a 20 to 25 percent increase in meal per diem over a 19-year period is justifiable.
Where the mayor struggles is with the notion of elected leaders being able to increase their own per diem, particularly where an increased meal per diem alone could increase the city's "training council" budget from roughly $10,000 to $10,360 a year.
"I was always grateful to have any money," Bangerter said.
Elected leaders, in addition to receiving a meal allowance while on city business, also receive the Internal Revenue Service mileage reimbursement rate of 56.5 cents per vehicle-mile traveled and hotel accommodation expenses.
But if the city is to follow GSA standards when it comes to meals, Bangerter said, it should follow the $77 limit per night hotel accommodation rate it recommends, versus allowing staff and elected officials to be reimbursed even more for their hotel accommodations.
For example, Sunset City Council members attending next week's Utah League of Cities and Towns Conference in St. George are staying in rooms that cost $112 per night.
"If we are going to follow GSA, let's follow GSA," Bangerter said.
When it comes to lodging, the city could create a policy to reimburse officials at the hotel rate obtained by the organization hosting the conference or event, Furniss said.
Those who travel will understand the need for the possible increase, Furniss said of the amount inflation has increased since 1994 when Sunset established its reimbursement rates.