Taxpayer group targets Sudbury councillors' community fund
Lawyer hired by Greater Sudbury Taxpayers Association says there could be a conflict of interest
A Sudbury city councillor says the Healthy Community Initiative Funds should stay, despite opposition from a local taxpayer association.
A $50,000 fund is assigned to each councillor every year to spend on community projects in each ward. Dave Kilgour said citizens currently can't submit small projects for budget consideration, so this fund covers projects that otherwise might not go ahead.
"This past fall there was a park where a slide [that was] part of a playground structure was destroyed," Kilgour said. "There's really not a whole lot of … room in the budget to play around for doing things on an immediate basis."
But the Greater Sudbury Taxpayers Association has consulted a London, Ont.-based lawyer who said individual councillors should not be responsible for distributing money. The lawyer suggested there could be a conflict of interest.
Kilgour said council is considering adding more oversight to the distribution of the funds.
That may not be enough for the association, however. At a news conference held Monday, a group spokesperson said the association will take legal action against city council if the Healthy Community Initiative Funds are not abolished.
"It leaves it wide open for criticism in regards to whether someone is giving money to someone that is a friend or acquaintance," said Dan Melanson, president of the association.