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The cost of Lodi City Council: Part 2

Each year, Lodi City Council members regularly travel across the state — and sometimes across the country. With few exceptions, the bills for hotels, flights and meals are picked up by taxpayers. Council members are largely free to choose flights, conferences and hotels on their own, with no oversight. Some say travel expenses can and should be reduced by using digital tools to connect and stay current.

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JoAnne Mounce, Lodi City Council member

“It is almost impossible to stay elsewhere (other) than the host hotel. You are running back and forth, and it just doesn’t make sense.”

Alan Nakanishi, Lodi City Council member

“For new council members, it’s good for them. It’s good for them to learn. So I can understand why they are important.”

Alan Nakanishi, Lodi City Councilman and Lodi ophthalmologist

“Lodi and Adventist Health will be a terrific combination. I know personally the quality of work Adventist Health does, and it is impressive.”

Alan Nakanishi, Lodi City Councilman

“As a city, we can ask General Mills if we wait to raise rates for two years, will they stay?”

Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 12:00 am

Members of the Lodi City Council don’t just head to meetings on Pine Street in Lodi. They travel to Sacramento, Monterey and Washington, D.C., among other locales — and the expenses can be sizable.

Each council member has a travel budget of $2,900 per year. The mayor is allowed a slightly higher budget of $3,400. Essentially, they can choose where to go, where to eat, and where to stay, with virtually no checks or oversight. One member spent nearly $600 for a room at the W San Francisco Hotel, for example.

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