Lunches, travel and staff: What your Winnipeg city councillor spent the most on
From meals to office staff, elected officials are required to account for each dollar spent under their ward allowance.
City councillors were allocated nearly $82,000 in expenses in 2017, but how they choose to spend that money is left up to their discretion.
That figure covers councillors’ spending on everything from salaries for their executive assistants to conference travel to their mobile phone bills and other office expenses.
The audit report, which is now posted online on the city’s website, breaks down each of the councillor’s expenditures along with Mayor Brian Bowman’s.
For the second year in a row, Councillor Russ Wyatt was the top spender in both the business meetings and luncheons, receptions and events categories.
Wyatt spent $2,613.46 on business meetings in 2017.
Most of those happened at restaurants such as: The Keg, Rae and Jerrys, Peg Beer Co., Dal’s, Peasant Cookery and Tony Roma’s.
In 2016, Wyatt claimed $5,065 in business meeting expenses.
While Wyatt’s business expenses were down last year, he still spent more than double any other councillor did.
Janice Lukes spent the second highest amount at $2,074.51.
Councillor Brian Mayes spent just $37.38 on business meetings for the entire year.
Jason Schreyer, Shawn Dobson, Cindy Gilroy and Ross Eadie spent nothing for the entire year on business meetings.
Luncheons, receptions and events is one of the largest expenditures, behind staffing, for all councillors.
Wyatt again topped the list spending $12,605.98.
Jeff Browaty was the second highest in that category ($9,039.76) followed by Scott Gillingham ($4,002.07), Marty Morantz ($3,306) and at the very bottom spending the least was Jason Schreyer ($50).
As mayor, Bowman’s budget is much bigger.
“Mayor Bowman is elected at large across the entire city. Legally, he is the Chief Officer of the City and the head of Council,” an email from his office said. “In these capacities, the Mayor is required to host different events, luncheons, and receptions.”
The Mayor had $1,862,503 available to spend on his office in 2017 but came in $267,409.38 under budget.
In 2017, the mayor spent $42,657.61 on luncheons, receptions and events.
“This included the hosting of events relating to the signing of Winnipeg’s first Indigenous Accord, the Mayor’s Scholarship for Community Leadership, trade visits, Canada Summer Games, Lord Selkirk’s tour, a visit from the prime minister,” his office stated.
The report says the total budget includes $1,190,509 for the mayor’s office, $450,000 for civic initiatives and $113,994 for promotions.
Councillors underspent their allotted allowances by a combined $60,499, which will be returned to general revenue.
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