Last week the Bay Observer published an article about the Hamilton Waterfront Trust’s financial reporting. Among a number of assertions we noted that a public washroom on the Hamilton Beach Trail, originally budgeted at $90,000, ultimately was billed to the City of Hamilton at $681,000. Since then, City finance staff have met with the Waterfront Trust to gain further information, and have been told that in fact, the $681,000 included a number of items unrelated to the washroom.
Later staff told us that the $681,000 also included a management fee paid to HWT of 6% of the value of the project or roughly $125,000. ( Earlier we had been told that the HWT was to receive 4%.) Setting that aside for the moment, my question would then be, what kind of accounting is it that lumps parking lots, sun shelters, rest area and management fees into a line item that says “Canal Washroom”? Why would anybody do that? Why not show them as separate line items? I don’t know what level of detail has been provided to Mr. Rossini, (who I regard by the way as an extremely capable public finance official—we are lucky to have him) , but until I see the actual invoices for services provided, in these various projects that have suddenly been tacked on to the washroom, I stick by my story. I should mention as well that I have been trying without success to get answers to these questions from HWT for nearly 6 months. This story is not finished.