Benson Centre Inflating City Budget? Support Cost Could be 38% Higher – City Councilors Tackle Budget – Cornwall Ontario – February 25, 2011

Cornwall ON – Denis Carr is the longest serving City Councilor in Cornwall Ontario and is on most of the big committees.    Thursday he was sitting in the for recovering Mayor, Bob Kilger, and purveying the maze of discussion over the upcoming budget for the city of nearly 50,000 souls on the St. Lawrence River.

He and I once chatted about The Benson Centre and he had concerns not so much about the capital cost, but the overhead.

Sure enough in discussions there were concerns over the possible 38% increase in costs of taking care of the 180,000 square foot facility due to open in the Spring.

Electricity; a real buzzword in Ontario; even if Cornwall still gets its Hydro from Quebec costs as do wider hallways and more surface.   While there may be some cost saving per square feet if there are more overall square feet to maintain your costs go up; and that doesn’t include the extra staff requested for the facility either.

Councilor Thibault asks the tough question before making off to warmer climes for a week!


Sitting at a budget meeting is akin almost to being prisoner in Guantanamo Bay.   At times you just want to get up and blurt out questions at some of the oddness of it all.  Council can debate a slim sliver of a tiny piece of  a budget item while passing large chunks of public spending.

Councilor Elaine Macdonald didn’t look terribly impressed as some of the numbers were crunched when it came to low income Cornwallites and the struggles they had living on Ontario Works and limited help offered to them from the City and various services.

Council was looking for places to trim and of course the poor, disabled, and working poor were no less discussed as was the suggestion that there were issues of low income people from nearby Quebec double dipping on Social Services or fraudulent uses of social services in Cornwall.

Compared to the Tim Horton hot topic of Councilors Black Berry expenses it seemed like an odd turn of subject and if I was more into conspiracy theories I’d think that council wanted people talking about $12,000 while not focusing or trimming other areas?

Sandy Cameron and Gerry Benson were present for their Community Action Group to see if their line of halting tax growth was to be implemented.

Neither gentlemen look impressed in the photo on the left.

Robert Menagh of Human Resources was queried about extra part time hours and possible savings as well.

Len Tapp was commended on keeping the bottom line on costs down and finding savings, but another single bidder RFP was shared when it came to advertising on City Buses.  Another contract at  a lower fee than last time was given out reducing revenue for the city to help recoup the cost of transit.

To see more video from the budget meeting and all of our videos visit our You Tube Channel.

What do you think Cornwall?  You can post your comments below?

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  1. Looking at those faces above brings to mind something I heard a long time ago. “We the willing, led by the unknowing, have been doing the impossible for the ungratefull. We’ve been doing so much for so long with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing”. I’m sure thats the way they think!

  2. OK, lets see a raise of hands, who didn’t see this coming?

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