” New City Hall ‘irresponsible'”
Great new article from Amy Reid of The Now, detailing the bylaw authorizing the $97 million dollar loan passed by Surrey First mayor and council.
Watts insists project’s net cost is $50 million; Surrey mayoral candidate Buchanan calls for reviewBy Amy Reid, The Now November 15, 2011
“While it’s public knowledge that a new Surrey city hall is in the works, there’s been much back and forth between Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and her election opponents about the cost and transparency of the project.
The city has maintained that the project will cost $50 million net.
But mayoral hopeful Ross Buchanan says there’s been a lack of transparency, lack of public consultation and $97 million in debt with the project.
Through a bylaw created in September 2010, the city secured $97 million that it could borrow through the Municipal Finance Authority.
The new city hall project has a cost of $87 million, but leasing the current city hall to the tune of $37 million will eventually pay down the project to $50 million net, which is how Watts broke down the figure.
City staff are negotiating with the provincial government for the lease of the existing city hall for justice purposes.
The remaining $10 million from the $97 million total is a contingency fund, only to be used if necessary, said Watts.
The bylaw that allowed the city to borrow the money states that it is intended to “authorize the borrowing for the construction of a new city hall in Surrey city centre.”
The bylaw also states “AND WHEREAS the estimated cost of constructing the new City Hall included expenses incidental thereto is the sum of $97 million which is the amount of debt created by this bylaw.”
The bylaw goes on to say that the maximum term for which debentures may be issued to secure the debt created by the bylaw is 30 years.
The current city hall had $11.7 million in expansion and upgrades within the last decade.
Watts said the new city hall will not be just for government…”