City debt sits at about $43 million

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By Nick Seebruch
City debt sits at about $43 million
Ross Markell (foreground) of MNP LLP gives Cornwall City Council a summary of the annual audit his firm conducted of the City's finances at the Cornwall City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council received an annual update on the City’s finances at their meeting on Tuesday, April 23.

Council learned at the municipal debt sits at $43 million in issued debt with about $11 million in approved debt that has yet to be issued.

The lion’s share of the debt is from two capital projects, the Benson Centre and the Waste Water Treatment plant for which the City owes $7.6 million and $10.5 million respectively.

The rest is due to the City’s capital loans which are $17 million, post-employment payments which sit at $1.1 million, the new Emergency Medical Services building at $1 million and a re-work of the Municipal Works yard at $396,000.

The municipal auditors, MNP LLP said however that the City was handling this debt very well and was paying it down annually. Furthermore, MNP stated that the City was in a good financial position, and that it’s financial assets allowed it quickly to pay off it’s debt if necessary.

“Municipality could pay off all debts tomorrow without selling off one capital asset,” said Ross Markell of MNP. “We have a good financial position of this year, 2018.”

The City is also well below the municipal debt limit of $141.7 million as set out in the City’s financial plan.

According to Councillor Claude McIntosh, the municipality is paying off it’s debt for the Benson Centre at a rate of about $700,000 a year, but that $500,000 of that is coming from the Progress Fund and is therefore not a burden on the tax base.

“I hate using the term, but it is good debt and it wasn’t the result of wild spending,” he said. “I’m not alarmed. I’ll go with what the accountant is saying, we’re handling it well.”

MNP also pointed out that the average household debt in Cornwall is lower than Brockville or Belleville.

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