Sudbury city councillors gather on a regular basis for meetings and the bill for dinners served at those meetings cost taxpayers $23,667 in 2013, CBC news has learned.
CBC obtained the information through an Access to Information request.
City councillor Claude Berthiaume said he was surprised by that figure, but added he doesn’t think it’s excessive.
“Well, that’s … $2,000 a month, roughly $500 a week,” he said.
Berthiaume said providing meals for councillors and staff means meetings only break for twenty minutes and city business gets done more efficiently.
Councillor Dave Kilgour said the cost has to be put into perspective.
“Twenty-thousand dollars is a hell of a lot of money when it’s coming out of one individual’s pocket,” he said.
“But when you’re dividing it up among 160,000 people, I feel they’re certainly getting a strong dollar value back for it.”
Needs to be looked at
Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk said the figure didn’t come up in her line by line review of the budget, and added every dollar spent at city hall needs to be reconsidered.
“When you do go line by line though, there are costs of doing business, so everything’s up for grabs,” she said.
“Is this something we need to look at? Absolutely.”
Matichuck said if staff and councillors had to leave city hall to go find dinner, meetings would likely drag on longer than they already do.
Kilgour said the cost of food at council meetings has been debated in previous years, with some suggesting that meetings start after dinner, but nothing has ever come of it.