(A)   Generally. All potential costs should be considered when selecting the modes of transportation. For example, airline travel may be cheaper than automobile when time away from work and increased meal and lodging costs is considered. When time is important, or when the trip is so long that other modes of transportation are not cost-beneficial, air travel is encouraged. If the traveler goes outside the state by means other than air, the reimbursement will be at federal mileage rates for personal vehicle, ordinary expenses during the meeting dates and one day’s meal and motel before or after the meeting. The traveler will be required to take annual leave for any additional time taken beyond the day before or the day after the meeting dates.
   (B)   Exceptions. When the traveler extends the trip with personal time to take advantage of discount fares, the reimbursement will be limited to the lesser of the actual expenses incurred or the amount that would have been incurred for the business portion only. The calculations for the business portion of the trip must be made using the government rates. All expenses and savings associated with extending the trip must be submitted with the expense reimbursement form.
      (1)   Air travel. When possible, the traveler should make full use of discounts for advance airline reservations and advance registration. The traveler should request conference, or government rates, when making lodging or rental car reservations. The City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board will pay for tourist or economy class air travel. All reservations for airline flights will be made by the Finance Department.
Mileage credits for frequent flyer programs accrued to the individual traveler. However, the City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board will not reimburse for additional expenses such as circuitous routing, extended stays, layovers to schedule a particular carrier, upgrading from economy to first class - for travelers to accumulate additional mileage or for other personal reasons. The COE/Etowah Utility Board will not reimburse travel by private aircraft unless authorized in advance by the City Manager/General Manager.
      (2)   Rail or bus. The City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board will pay for actual cost of ticket.
      (3)   Vehicles. Automobile transportation may be used when a common carrier can’t be scheduled, when it’s more economical, when a common carrier isn’t practical, or when two or more City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board employees traveling together can reduce expenses. Fines for traffic or parking violations will not be reimbursed by the COE/Etowah Utility Board. Reasonable tolls will be allowed when the most direct travel route requires them.
         (a)   Personal vehicles.
            1.   Employees should use City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board vehicles when possible. Use of a private vehicle must be approved in advance by the City Manager/General Manager. The City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board will pay a mileage rate not to exceed the rate allowed by the federal schedule. The miles for reimbursement shall be paid from origin to destination and back. Necessary vicinity travel related to official City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board business will be reimbursed. If an indirect route is taken, the Google Maps mileage calculation will be used to determine the mileage to be reimbursed.
            2.   If two or more travelers on the same trip use a privately owned automobile, only the traveler who owns or has custody of the automobile will be reimbursed for mileage. It’s the responsibility of the traveler to provide adequate insurance to hold harmless the City of Etowah/Utility Board for any liability from the use of the private vehicle.
            3.   Travelers will not be reimbursed for automobile repair or breakdowns when using their personal vehicle.
         (b)   City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board Vehicle. The City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board may require the employee to drive a City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board vehicle. If a City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board vehicle is provided, the traveler is responsible for seeing that the vehicle is used properly. The employee will be reimbursed for expenses directly related to the actual and normal use of the utility vehicle when proper documentation is provided.
         (c)   Rental cars. Use of a rental car is permitted when it is less expensive or otherwise more practical than public transportation. A government rate must be requested. Anyone who uses a rental car for out-of-state travel must obtain liability coverage from the vendor.
         (d)   Taxi and other transportation fares. When an individual travels by common carrier, reasonable fares will be allowed for necessary ground transportation. Bus to and from airports should be used when available and practical. The City of Etowah/Etowah Utility Board will reimburse mileage for travel to and from the local airport and parking fees. Receipts are required. For travel between lodging quarters and meetings, conferences or meals, reasonable taxi fares will be allowed. Original receipts are required for claims of $5 or more. Reimbursement claims for taxis or other ground transportation must be listed separately on the expense reimbursement form.
(1994 Code, § 4-403)  (Res. 591, passed - -; Ord. 629, passed 7-28-2003; Ord. 676, passed 8-27-2007; Ord. 777, passed 6-22-2015)