Is the City Paying for Caserta to Stay at the Lovely But Majestic Yosemite Hotel?
By Robert Haugh
We noticed on the Council agenda for this Tuesday, February 21, that Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta has requested the city pay $2,300 for him to attend the Yosemite Policy Makers conference in March. Yosemite is a spectacular place for a conference, and the topics seem interesting.
But when we went to the website, we noticed the conference fee is only $400. So what’s the other $1,900 for? The staff report doesn’t say.
So we looked up an appropriate per diem amount from the federal government’s website that sets rates that most government agencies use for travel expenses.
Caserta should be entitled to three nights of lodging and two dinners. The conference feeds him the rest of the time. The per diem rates for Mariposa County, the location of Yosemite Park and the conference is:
- $107 for lodging per night
- $69 for meals per day
So Caserta’s total should be $528 for lodging and meals, not $1,900. Why the high budget?
We checked out Priceline.com. To spend that amount, Caserta would have to stay at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel ($564 per night and higher). It’s gorgeous and historic but no way is it justifiable as a government travel expense.
We found the Best Western Cedar Inn and Suites to be right at the $107 per night mark and they have available rooms. It looks nice and they have free breakfast.
***Editor’s note: We’ve been advised since publishing that the Best Western option is a substantial distance (up to 1.5 hours) from the conference site – rooms at the host site start at around $275/night***
If Caserta really wanted to save the city some money, he could stay at the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort Hotel for $50 per night. But sorry, no free breakfast, and we hope the “bug” isn’t a description of what may reside there.
The item is currently on the consent calendar. But if it’s pulled for discussion, we’ll report back on more details like room rates and free breakfasts. Stay tuned.