Receipts will now be required for Ogle County employees to be reimbursed for meals they eat while traveling on county business.
The county board approved changes in its policy Tuesday that increase the amount allowed for meals, but tighten the requirements for reimbursement.
Board member Marty Typer, Stillman Valley, chairman of the Finance, Insurance, and Personnel Committee, said the change was being made to ensure that employees are repaid for the actual cost of meals when they travel on county business.
The amounts were increased by $1 each meal to a maximum of $8 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, and $16 for dinner.
Ogle County Clerk Rebecca Huntley said that currently employees are reimbursed for meals even if they did not eat them and receive the full amount allowed even if the meal costs less.
Under the new requirements, reimbursement will cover only what was actually spent on the meal, up to the maximum amount.
Before approving the changes, the board amended the measure to include all county employees.
The original resolution said it would apply to "all county employees not governed by union agreements."
The amendment struck the words "not governed by union agreements."
More than half of the county employees belong to labor unions, while the others do not.
Employees in the sheriff's department, probation department, circuit clerk's office, and health department are union members.
In another matter, the board denied a zoning variance for a house located along the Rock River near Grand Detour.
At the recommendation of the Assessment, Planning & Zoning Committee, the board turned down a request from Wade Winekauf, 5193 W. Murray Drive, to allow the lowest floor of his house to be located 3.6 feet below the level required by the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.
Board member Lyle Hopkins, Polo, said he favored approving the variance.
"I feel this [denial] is going to put a terrible hardship on the owner," he said.
While acknowledging that Winekauf failed to get the required permits for construction he did on the house, Hopkins said that even with flooding at an all-time high this spring, very little water came into the home.
However, board member Bill Welty, Chana, who chairs the Assessment, Planning & Zoning Committee, disagreed.
He said Winekauf was aware when he bought the house in 2009 that it was too low.
Welty said that neither Winekauf or his contractor applied for the required permit in 2011 before construction on the house began.
He said the estimated cost is $100,000 to raise the house to meet the required elevation. "It [the house] does violate our policy," Welty said.
Approving the variance could jeopardize Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to the county if another flood occurs, Welty said.
In other business, the board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Leaf River for street repair and maintenance.
Under the terms of the agreement, the village will pay the county highway department for the work done. County engineer Curtis Cook said the work will likely begin next spring.