Sault donates thousands of tax dollars to disaster relief
At a time when cities like Greater Sudbury are struggling to cover the costs of municipal services, Sault Ste. Marie council donates tax dollars to charity.
The council has a long standing policy of giving $7,500 to disaster relief efforts, which amounts to 10 cents per citizen.
This year, the City of Sault Ste. Maire sent a cheque to Lac Megantic, Quebec, as well as the Philippines.
And in years past, Sault taxpayers have helped out Haiti after the earthquake, Elliot Lake after the mall collapse, communities in Alberta devastated by forest fires, as well as flood clean-up in Thunder Bay.
Mayor Debbie Amaroso is proud that council has continued to help clean up after major catastrophes close to home and around the world.
"We are a caring and kind community and our citizenry is supportive of it," she said. "We certainly don't hear anything to the contrary and if we did, we'd have to re-evaluate it."
City council has turned down charities in the Sault that are seeking funding, but Amaroso believes that's different.
"If you give to one local charity, you open yourself up to all," Amaroso said. "This is really specific to extreme events."
The Sault Ste. Marie Ratepayers Association often scrutinizes how public dollars are spent.
But organizer David Poluck said giving to those in need is "good karma" for the whole city.
"Doing things on behalf of the city, it's goodwill, it's a good gesture, it's being a good neighbour," he said.