Long meeting at City Council last night. The numbers for 2008 were reviewed with the accounting firm for the city, Craig, Keen, Despatie, and Markell LLP with Ross Markell speaking for the firm.
Some of the numbers were really good. Mr. Markell compared Cornwall to Brockville, Northbay, and Belleville, but accounting numbers have to be sifted through and balanced to truly understand them.
Also, the numbers discussed were up to the end of of 2008 and the impact of the recession will only truly start to show in the 2009 numbers which is what was discussed by Mr. Markell. As it stands Cornwall cut social spending in 2008 to help balance the books.
For next year’s report the yearlie’s will be will be reflected differently. For example when you go for a loan the bank will add up your cash and liquid assets; Cash, RRSP’s, houses; things that can be converted quickly.
As of next year the numbers will reflect and include the accumulated assets of the City akin to all the junk you may have around the house including that drawer full of single socks and all those toys you buy off of tv that never work.
The good news is that due to selling Cornwall Electric the city’s debt is very low and Cornwall sits on a $25,000.000.00 million dollar nest egg which gives the city revenue every year.
The bad news is that the cost of the arena and the waste treatment project will force the city to borrow money, and a lot of it at the same time that Cornwall’s cash reserves either need to be pumped up or judicially not spent.
The only way to do that without raising taxes would be to cut services, and most likely services will have to be cut and costs go up.
The water meter issue isn’t about saving water as the city last night said that the rates will match the cost of the system. So yes; some bigger users will pay a higher bill, but folks this is all about money and paying for the new system. The chances of anyone saving any money with meters is very remote; plus the cost of implementing the meters will have to be paid for as well.
The cost for the new water treatment project will add $40-$50 per household per year.
The city is taking on an awful lot of debt at a time when revenue will most likely be down due to lower interest rates returned for their investments and lower taxes collected because of the economy.
The reality is that for 2008 there was basically only a cash reserve of about $300K as most of the reserves had been spoken for. The cupboard needs to be refilled at a time with the taxpayer’s cupboards aren’t that full either.
Mr. Markell ” You will need to borrow” “the progress fund will offset some of the interest….”
The City will also have to change the “Pay as You Go” bylaw in order to possibly go into deficit.
As a taxpayer I can appreciate the good work done by Mayor Kilger and the current city council as well as the group before. Compared to the three cities mentioned by Mr. Markell Cornwall was in better shape as of December 2008.
The challenge facing Mayor Kilger and City Council today is how will we compare in 2009, and 2011, or 2015 if we keep spending on these projects without raising revenues?
Should the city be plowing as much as it is into the arena project now without proper investment from the Hockey Community? If the project will cut down to a more feasible amount the city would not have the pressure it’s going to have to tax our overtaxed citizens during a harsh economy.
And it definately is time to say no to water meters.
What do you think Cornwall? Do you want your tax bills going up for an arena? We all need water, but do we all need a 3+1 hockey pad? Please leave your comments and vote in our poll. You can vote on more than one option.
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