Taxpayers are footing the bill as nearly half of city council heads out west for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference and expo this summer.

While approving councillors’ 2009 conference schedule, the city’s finance committee voted to send 10 councillors plus the mayor to the June 5 to 8 conference in Whistler, B.C.

Mayor Larry O’Brien and councillors Diane Deans, Shad Qadri, Michelle Bellemare, Marianne Wilkinson, Peggy Feltmate, Georges Bédard, Maria McRae, Diane Holmes, Jacques Legendre and Christine Leadman will be going on the trip, which costs $2,893 per person.

Councillor and Association of Municipalities of Ontario president Peter Hume is also going, but AMO is covering his expenses.

Coun. Clive Doucet had expressed interest in attending the conference, but declined earlier this month due to the transit strike.

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