Chowing Down: City of Elk Grove Spends over $2,000 at Local Restaurants

On Wednesday night the Elk Grove City Council will approve payments to vendors and any other party who is owed money by the city as part ...

On Wednesday night the Elk Grove City Council will approve payments to vendors and any other party who is owed money by the city as part of the consent calendar. Typically items on the consent calendar are considered non-controversial and are rubber-stamped by the council.

Nonetheless, every now and then a closer examination of the items submitted for payment on the consent calendar reveal interesting nuggets of information on the workings of our city and elected officials.

For instance, last summer one astute Elk Grove citizen questioned why Mayor Sophia Scherman was double-dipping on her mileage reimbursements. That citizen's questioning led to a change in how city officials are paid for mileage.

With this in mind, we decided to take a look at some of the payments the city council will be giving their rubber-stamp of approval off on Wednesday night. Our examination of the payment register showed the usual payments to vendors like Herburger Publications for state-mandated public notices or payments to CALPERS for employee pension benefits.

There was a certain category of payments within the city's travel and expense bill that did stand out upon casual examination. For the sake of simplicity, let call it the city's food budget.

Chowing down
Found under vendor U.S. Bank Corp. Payment Systems, vendor number 1304, the category includes payments made to a variety of hotels, airlines, restaurants and clubs in the Washington DC area.
While EGN has submitted a public information request with the city regarding particular information for this category, we think it is safe to infer that the purchases for airline tickets, hotel rooms, club purchases and Washington DC restaurants are associated with the annual Cap to Cap lobbying trip. It appears this account may be city issued credit cards. Public disclosure of this information will verify if this is the case of not.
While it is expected taxpayers will pay for travel of elected officials and employees directly associated with city business, there is another whole slew of local purchases that caught our attention.
Consider the following local restaurant purchases approved for the U.S. Bank Corp vendor account for the period of 6/1/10 to 6/30/10:

  • Panera Bread           $1,018.08
  • Chick-Fil-A                  365.73
  • Baja Fresh                    125.99
  • Papa John’s                    94.36
  • On the Border                75.33
  • BJ’s Restaurant              60.00
  • Lucca Restaurant            57.00
  • Red Robin                      34.10
  • Brickhouse                     31.19
  • Cookie Car                    19.80
These local restaurant purchases amount to over $2,000. In the scope of the city’s multi-million dollar budget, they are quite small.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see once the city discloses the nature of these food expenditures, what purpose they served the taxpayer.
Given the financial difficulties many Elk Grove citizens face given continued high unemployment, not to mention the looming imposition of federal minimum wages on state employees, perhaps that money would have been better used as a grant to the local food bank.
Once the city discloses the information, we will have a better idea why over $2,000 was spent at local restaurants.

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1 comment

Josie said...

Yes, that will be interesting. Not only could the Food Bank have possibly made better use of a grant, but the Senior Center had to increase their Dial-A-Ride from $2.00 to $3.00 each way. That would have probably helped them out for a year.

Hopefully this expenditure served the community WELL!

Which reminds me....has Mr. Hume ever filed his Amended 700 form? Isn't he running for City Council again?

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