Wednesday, August 3, 2011

$10 million is the new $137 million

Only in Hamilton.    When Ontario deregulated power in 2002 (huge mistake still, in my opinion) it was left to the local utilities on what to do with the new local power companies which legally had to incorporate separately from the cities they were in.    In our case, the book value was set at $137 million which went into a trust fund.   That fund, appropriately the Hamilton Futures Fund, was only intended to support sustainable community projects with a net payback that over time would increase the nest egg, not diminish it.

What have our city fathers and mothers done?

Let's see -- refurbishing Ferguson Avenue (once an awful street with a rail line going through it but now a pleasant cobblestone path).   Rebuilding the Art Gallery.   Pitching in towards the Dieppe Memorial on the beachfront.   And some money for local food banks.    Okay, some worth in that.

But since that time, the money has eroded for projects of no worth whatsoever or even worse to contact local property tax increases.    Uh sorry.   That $137 million was our money, the goodwill we put into the local utility, one of the best run of its kind in the country when it was city run.   Now ... [signing something between so-so and meh]

The city of Hamilton has finally dropped the ball by approving a $50 million withdrawal from the Future Fund for the local Pan Am Games projects (or what few we have left).    And the money is a giveaway, not a loan, and it has been made clear we will never get it back.

If this was most countries, it would be considered vigorish, a bribe.   Here, we just call it a handout to Billionaire Bob Young, owner of the Tiger Cats.   This is the quid pro quo for the "compromise" of renovating Ivor Wynne.   We just give him most or all of the fifty mill and never see it again.   Balance left in the account:   $10 million give or take.

What crap.    Soon as I am able to, I'm leaving this town.   I'll admit to many faults, but this is corruption to the nth degree.

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