City will borrow to pay off Benson Centre balance

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Councillors voted Tuesday night to sanction the borrowing of $10.4 million to pay off the balance of the Benson Centre.

City hall’s finance department will now formally secure a 20-year loan with TD Canada Trust.

The loan, with an interest rate of 3.4 per cent, means the city will fork over just shy of $690,000 annually, says a report council received Tuesday night.

At the end of 15-year term a balance of more than $3 million would remain.

Council’s decision was essentially a no-brainer, given that the balance needed to be accounted for and few around the table would consider any other option – including borrowing money from the principle of the $25-million Progress Fund and paying that back with no interest, instead of paying a bank.

“What we’re doing makes sense,” said Coun. Bernadette Clement. “We’re borrowing responsibly.”

But she and other councillors suggested a debate needs to happen concerning the Progress Fund principle.

Coun. Denis Carr, the only one to vote against the borrowing scheme, suggested the city should borrow from itself to mitigate interest payments.

Council would have to unanimously vote to spend Progress Fund principle. Councillors Syd Gardiner and Andre Rivette said Tuesday night they would never vote in such a manner.

The Progress Fund was created following the sale of Cornwall Electric in the late 1990s.

Organizations: Benson Centre, Progress Fund, TD Canada Trust Cornwall Electric

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