Sudbury taxpayers group not 'the enemy'
Group aims to change Sudbury for the better, despite "resistance" from council
Members of the Greater Sudbury Taxpayers Association say they believe it has changed the city for the better in the past year.
The lobby group — formed by key members of Mayor Marianne Matichuk's election campaign team — has made headlines by calling for the resignation of senior city staff and accusing council of illegally spending tax dollars.
Taxpayers Association president Dan Melanson said he is proud of what they've accomplished so far.
"Slowly we're starting to have a positive effect on the way council's looking at things," he said.
"There's still a lot of resistance, there's a lot of members of council who look at us as the enemy and we're not."
But hard stances on issues like the healthy community ward funds have most councillors dismissing the association as a pack of complainers.
Melanson thinks that's unfair.
"It's much easier to lash out than it is to work with us, so that's why we're getting some of the resentment," he said.
"I think we've done a pretty good job of bringing forth good, solid well-researched positions."
While new to Sudbury, many cities have municipal lobby groups — but few have a lasting impact, according to David Seigel, a political scientist at Brock University.
"They're frequently around a particular issue or a particular candidate," Seigel said. "The major characteristic is that they come and go, sometimes very quickly."
The Sudbury taxpayers association plans to stick around and is already planning ahead to the next municipal election in 2014.
Melanson said the association has about 200 members, but most decisions are made by the nine-person board of directors.