WAUSEON - Fulton County Commissioners this week reduced the mileage rate they will pay employees driving their own vehicles on business trips to the lowest point in years, in an attempt to encourage employees to drive county-owned vehicles instead.
Commissioners unanimously set their mileage reimbursement rate for the year at 30 cents per mile, instead of adopting the Internal Revenue Service's maximum deductible rate, which starting Jan. 1 is a record 40.5 cents per mile.
County Administrator Vond Hall said the change should save the county thousands of dollars this year. Fulton county pays for employees to make hundreds of trips to state-wide meetings in Columbus alone every year.
The commissioners thought their costs to operate the county's 148 vehicles are significantly less than the new IRS rate, although they did not estimate those costs before voting, Commission President Jack Graf said.
For 2004, the IRS rate was 37.5 cents, up from 36 cents in 2003 and 36.5 cents in 2002.
Mr. Graf said the higher rate the IRS set for Jan. 1 led commissioners to make the change. County vehicles are almost always available to employees who plan ahead, he said.
"If you want to drive your car to Columbus, that's fine. But you're only going to be paid 30 cents [per mile]," Mr. Graf said. At the 30 cents per mile rate, an employee driving from Wauseon to Columbus would be paid about $103 compared to $140 at the new IRS rate.
Also this week, the commission unanimously re-elected Mr. Graf to his fifth year as president and Dean Genter to his fifth year as vice president. Commissioner Paul Barnaby made both nominations.
Last year Mr. Genter had voted no in a 2-1 vote electing Mr. Graf president, saying it was time for a change.
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