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After much debate, commissioners approve travel expense policy



A contract between Carlton and St. Louis counties was renewed for radio maintenance, and details for county employees' travel and expense reimbursement policy were approved during the Carlton County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday afternoon.

After a lengthy ongoing discussion, the board approved capping the meals at $10.50 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25.50 maximum for supper for employees and elected officials. Employees/elected officials will also be required to turn in a receipt in order to be reimbursed.

The Policy Committee recommended the meal rates but said they thought the breakfast and dinner rates seemed high. The subject of the meal costs has been discussed but not decided on at more than one county board meeting in recent months.

District 4 Commissioner Susan Zmyslony said she appreciated the work that was done to come up with the meal caps and she felt they were fair.

"We have some employees who do transport so we deal with this a lot," said Sheriff Kelly Lake. "I think we need to have receipts; it shows transparency to the public. It's not hard to get a receipt. Of course it's easier not to do it, but then it's not as easy to track where the taxpayer dollars are going. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for receipts."

In other news:

• The Carlton County Sheriff's department has paid St. Louis County $37,000 annually since 2011 for a Technical Service agreement. The agreement provides public safety radio maintenance services and they have helped Carlton County find grant opportunities. "It's been a good partnership over the years and I recommend we continue," said Sheriff Kelly Lake.

• The commissioners received a letter of thanks from the Holyoke Town Board for cleaning up their community cemetery (the work was done by Lori Peterson, Carlton County Corrections work crew facilitator, and her juvenile work crew).

• The board closed the session at 5 p.m. to discuss union negotiations with the Teamsters, 49ers and LELS non-supervisors group as all three groups have contracts that expire at the end of 2017.