By Ryan McGreal
Published December 02, 2008
Councillor Bob Bratina, who has proposed that the City remain at Hamilton City Centre, is claiming that this move will cost only $50 million over the next 20 years, compared to $150 million to complete the City Hall renovations.
"The current plan will require us to borrow several million dollars, and therefore raise taxes significantly," he argues.
The cost of the current plan includes both debt servicing charges and the cost of accommodating all those city employees who still won't fit into City Hall once the renovations are complete. Some of those employees will go in the Lister Block, but the city will still require another 140,000 sq. ft. of office space elsewhere.
Hamilton City Centre is big enough that it could accommodate all of the city's employees under one roof.
Bratina concludes, "I'm simply asking that staff review these figures and report to Council. We can then decide what the best course is to take on behalf of taxpayers."
Today's Spectator reports that some other councillors already oppose Bratina's proposal. Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, chair of the City Hall Renovation Committee, is quoted saying, "Absolutely not. We've picked our path; we need to follow it."
Bratina's argument is that the situation has changed since Council made its decision. The global economy is in peril, and the city is going to be under severe fiscal constraints over the next few years. In an earlier dispatch, he said, "To carry on withour current plan in light of the current economy would be calamitous."
As John Maynard Keynes famously said:
When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?
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