Updated at 12:11 p.m. with comments from United Steelworkers Local 6500
The Greater Sudbury Taxpayers' Association (GSTA) is calling on Steelworkers Local 6500 to repay almost $100,000 in landfill tipping fees that the city waived for the union in 2008.
After the Steelworkers Hall burned down, the union asked city council to waive the tipping fees associated with getting rid of rubble from the fire.
“At the time, senior city managers recommended against waiving the fees, saying it was unprecedented,” according to a press release from the taxpayers' association.
“But then, Mayor John Rodriguez — who has close ties with the Steelworkers — was successful in getting city councillors to vote against the staff recommendation, and the fees were waived.
The only two councillors who voted against (it) were Joe Cimino (Ward 1) and Andre Rivest (Ward 6).”
Now that Local 6500 has a new facility, which is being officially opened Jan. 26, the union should pay back the money, the press release said.
“We think it's great that the Steelworkers have this new facility to advance their workplace and political causes,” Greater Sudbury Taxpayers' Association Dan Melanson said, in the press release.
“Given the successes it is already having in booking events at the facility, even before the official opening, it would appear that it will be a significant source of revenue for 6500. The GSTA thinks the right thing to do now is to enter into a repayment plan with the City of Greater Sudbury.
“$100,000 is a lot of money, and could go a long way in helping the city at a time when it's facing increases in property taxes, water bills, hydro bills, and a deteriorating infrastructure.”
When asked if the union plans to pay back the waived tipping fee, Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand said he was not going to “get into a debate” about the matter.
“There was a democratic decision made three years ago,” he said. “The Steelworkers have donated a lot of money to this community, and we're going to continue that tradition with our new home.”
Posted by Arron Pickard