How could you turn down a sweet deal like this?


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If the landlord offered to cut your rent in half and extend the lease at that rate for 10 years, you would likely rub your hands in glee and declare, “where do I sign?”

The financial benefits are immediately obvious, so why can’t the powers-to-be at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health recognize a deal when they see one.

Or, is executive director Cynthia St. John so bound and determined to find posh, new digs that she has completely lost touch with reality?

In August of last year, the County of Elgin offered the publicly-funded organization, whose Edward Street lease expired yesterday, a new, 10-year lease, with a further option for an additional ten years at a net rate of $13.50 per square foot.

The current contract called for a rate of $25.98 per square foot, so it doesn’t require an advance math degree to realize the savings.

As they say in those irresistible infomercials, “But wait, there’s more!”

That same August, 2009 tender proposal offered to Elgin St. Thomas Public Health would see the county responsible for major building maintenance, the county would relocate the existing tenant to free up an additional 4,000 square feet and throwing in the parking spaces.

This would equate to an approximate annual reduction/savings of $250,000.

Just think of the overtime you can dole out to management when the next crisis hits.

Speaking of which, what’s this we hear about the management team getting an extra week’s wages last year — something to do with pay periods — and all along this corner thought they were salaried?

Where is board chairman, Ald. Bill Aarts, on all this and why isn’t the mayor and council grilling him on the air of entitlement the management team is inhaling at 99 Edward Street?

See also A living nightmare for Elgin St. Thomas Public Health staff

THE LOAN ARRANGER

In a letter to the Times-Journal printed on Tuesday, Paul Corriveau, president of the North America Railway Hall of Fame, bemoaned the fact the city last month flashed a red light at his organization’s grant request for $500,000.

The right decision on council’s part, in recognition of whose pockets this sum would have come out of.

Further along in his letter, Corriveau advised, “We were hoping to open a discussion about other funding mechanisms, such as a loan or loan guarantee.

“Unfortunately, our request was summarily rejected by council without discussion on other ways they could partner with our organization,” Corriveau continued.

If memory serves, we don’t remember any discussion at council dealing with loan guarantees, so that prompted a City Scope call to city treasurer Bill Day for clarification.

He advised the grant application to the city “doesn’t reference any request for a loan.”

“There never was any dialogue with city council,” Day advised.

Now, Paul did meet with the treasurer to ask what his feeling would be, as treasurer, about a loan and Day offered his opinion that he would not recommend that to council.

“But that would not preclude them from asking (council),” Day noted.

He added the city has enough core services issues to deal with now and well into the future.

So, exactly when did council slam the door shut on a loan request that never was tabled in the first place. And were members presented with a detailed business plan that would account for the expenditure of funds?

The tone of Corriveau’s letter is decidedly damning, in light of previous support provided by the city.

The lack of discussion on a loan guarantee would appear to originate in Corriveau’s corner.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“The community of St. Thomas has been very generous in its support and we would like to express our utmost thanks. We only wish the mayor and council of St. Thomas were as supportive.”

Paul Corriveau, president of the North America Railway Hall of Fame, launches a shot across the bow of city council for failing to approve the organization’s grant request for $500,000.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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