MU Extension and County Council Partnership
- Creation of standard MOUs with every county council and MU Extension
- Internet provider support will continue in FY18 as in FY17
- MU Extension allotment to county offices will be roughly 50% of last year’s allotment
- Implementation of a statewide travel system
Creation of Standard MOUs
MU Extension plans to create a standard MOU with each county council formalizing the partnership that delivers on the land grant mission of providing access to high quality education, applying research to the needs of Missouri and extending knowledge to Missouri’s citizens. We will engage County Commissions and County Councils in the development of the partnership agreements. The MOUs will also provide specific areas of cooperation tailored per county such as faculty staffing, YPAs, internet, space, office support, travel, etc.
We hope to provide the standard MOUs by mid-September and will ask that they are returned NO LATER than December 1st. This will signify a county council and MU Extension agreement of the partnership for the calendar year January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018.
Internet Access for County Offices|
MU Extension will continue to provide internet access to county offices in calendar year 2018 with no charge to the counties (no internet access/LAN charge). The internet access cost to MU Extension in support of the county offices and MU Extension faculty and staff is over $200,000 annually.
MU Extension Allotment to County Offices
The MU Extension allotment to county offices for program support and county support benefits provided in FY17 will continue for counties in FY18. Counties can expect to receive approximately 50% of the previous allocation to be distributed in the fall of 2017. This year will be the final payment as we transition from our previous practices. Cost of this year’s distribution will exceed $275,000. We continue to explore options for county councils to provide health and retirement benefits for county employees. It is our hope to have options to share as part of the MOU partnership agreement.
Statewide Travel System
In January of 2018, MU Extension will implement a statewide travel system for county-based MU Extension faculty and staff in an effort to standardize travel reimbursement across the state and provide uniform reporting and equity among colleagues and counties. We encourage counties to participate and firmly believe that doing so will strengthen the partnerships between MU Extension and County Councils while increasing programming across the state. The statewide travel system cost to MU Extension in support of the county offices and MU Extension faculty and staff is over $135,000 annually.
Central Missouri ran a travel system very similar to this and West Central is currently processing county reimbursed travel through the University. Reports have indicated increased programming in these regions and a strengthened relationship between county councils and faculty serving multiple counties. We feel it is an effective and efficient way of transacting a uniform business expense across the state and most importantly, standard reimbursement for our valued faculty and staff doing business for the good of Extension.
With this implementation, MU Extension will no longer support the current regional travel database. The University travel and expense reimbursement (T&E) system is the accepted and effective tool. Reimbursement of mileage will be at the University rate for all employees and will never exceed the IRS rate. As a reminder to those counties who currently reimburse above the IRS rate, a 1099 tax form must be provided by the council to staff and faculty (local and MU) who receive reimbursement.
Below is the proposed implementation plan based on two example counties:
- The standard MOU will include an agreement of the county council to participate in the statewide travel system effective January 1, 2018 for participating counties.
- MU Extension will use data provided by each county council to establish an average of actual miles driven for the past 3 years. Of that amount, 70% will be the counties contribution, 30% MU Extension’s contribution. For calendar year 2018, counties whose three year (2014-16) travel expenditures were less than the calculated projected county contribution, MU Extension will hold them harmless for calendar 2018 only.
- Counties will be billed monthly for 1/12 of the county contribution to travel.
- Specialists and/or designee will complete a monthly mileage log and enter into the University T&E system for approval by the regional office once a month.
- Reimbursements will be deposited electronically into the employee’s bank account typically within 1-3 business days after approval.
- Mileage will be tracked by county where the programming is taking place and not based on where the regional specialist is assigned or housed.
- Mileage reimbursement for all faculty and staff regardless of location of programming will be at the University rate.
- Reports will be readily available and adjustments will be made annually based on actual mileage of the three year average. To assist in management of this new system, county councils and CPDs will be notified when actual travel reaches 75% of the yearly budget.