Details of ward funding may move online
Sudbury debates how public can get more information about $50k city ward funds
The controversial Healthy Community Funds will be up for debate at Sudbury city council this week.
The funds — which some have called ‘slush money’ or ‘illegal’ — give each city councillor $50,000 to spend in their wards as they wish.
There have been calls for council to abolish the funds or give staff more control over how the money is spent — but councillor Terry Kett said he disagrees.
"We want the funds closer to the public," he said. "And we feel the councillors are the closest possible link to the public."
What council will discuss this week is giving the public more information about how the $600,000 in councillor-controlled ward funds are spent. Details about where the money goes — and why — would be posted online.
Kett said the website would also show residents how they can apply for a grant from their councillor's ward fund, and would keep the process as transparent as possible.
"I don't like to see council being criticized, it bothers me," Kett said. "This way anyone can see exactly where I spend my ward funds. It's right there online. They can see which group got how much."
Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk has been critical of the ward funds in the past — in particular, how councillors now get nearly double what they used to.
"This thing has morphed over the last couple of years and has gotten ... huge," she said.
The policy councillors will debate at Tuesday’s meeting also includes the mayor's $600,000 office budget. Staff proposes that details of how that money is spent, as well as $1 million in annual councillor expenses, also be posted on the city website.