Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, November 09, 2009

The 10 Tunnel Flip Questions That Will NEVER Be Answered

Oh you really did not want to have the answers that deal with a $100M dollar asset that is disappearing from the City's control. Even if you did, you will not get them.

Heck, let's spend more time worrying about Roseland golf course bunkers instead.

I talked about the Tunnel Corporation (and the airport one back in June 2007) BLOG: June 12, 2007 "The Speech The Mayor Would Not Hear."

As I said at the time:

  • "What we are being asked to do today may seem to be very simple—setting up a few section 203 companies. Instead the truth is that we are doing is signing a blank cheque.

    That is why I am opposed to Administration’s recommendation. We require a proper consultation respecting the entire transaction, with full, complete and true disclosure not piece-meal bits and pieces.

    This report is a continuation of the secrecy at City Hall, to keep us in the dark as if all we are good for is to pay out taxes and remain silent."

It's nice to know I was right!

Here are the questions:

1) Where is the Price Waterhouse Coopers valuation report and why hasn't it been released to the public

2) What is the Net Book Value and how has it been calculated? Why wasn't this released to the public?

3) If the NBV is the same as the PWC valuation, how can that be when the Mayor has said:

  • Mayor Eddie Francis questioned how Detroit arrived at a $100-million price tag for control of the U.S. side of the tunnel.

    Windsor has gone through an "exhaustive process" to arrive last year at a $75-million value, he said.

    "That was the number we were prepared to pay back then, but economic conditions have changed considerably and are very different than five or six months ago."

We all know that traffic numbers are even worse now

4) If the NBV is less than the PWC calculation, does that mean that taxpayers are taking a capital gains LOSS right away and what is the impact on the City's financial statements?

5) This new deal means the City gets no money for the Tunnel but only shares while before we did. Why should taxpayers give away assets for nothing!

6) Since this company is now private, it can kick out members of the public and the media as was done at the Airport meeting recently. Will the by-laws of the Company provide:

  • all meetings are open to the public just like those of the Tunnel Commission
  • all Minutes are to be distributed to the public
  • no assets can be sold, leased, mortgaged or otherwise disposed of without the prior written consent of the shareholder, the City of Windsor

7) Supposedly this structure was set up to insulate the City from any liability. Will Mr. Sutts give us an iron-clad guarantee that this will happen considering that the Mayor is the Head, members of Council are on the Board and that the City provides staff.

8) Have there been any discussion whatsoever between anyone form Detroit and anyone representing the City including lawyers, consultants etc about doing a deal with Detroit for their half

9) What was the amount that Infrastructure Ontario was prepared to loan to the City

10) Has the Federal Government or Infrastructure Ontario valued the Tunnel and if those numbers have been given to the City, what are they?

Why am I so pessimistic. Remember this Star story:

  • "Council shot down a bid Monday for councillors to get their hands on the minutes of meetings from the city's growing roster of arms- length corporations.

    "I'm surprised," Coun. Drew Dilkens said. "What I put forward was a motion for open, transparent and accountable government -- something I thought everyone would support with a unanimous decision.

    "But tonight it wasn't the intent of this council to move in that direction."

    The city in recent years has continued to form a number of new corporations including Enwin Utilities, Windsor Canada Utilities and new companies to run the airport and Windsor-Detroit tunnel.

    Dilkens has suggested actions of board members behind the corporations have been too secretive and not accountable to taxpayers...

    Dilkens said that made him uncomfortable because every councillor is held accountable by taxpayers. Yet councillors can be in a tough position to respond because of a lack of information, he said.

    He pointed to issues surrounding WUC's controversial 86 per cent water rate hike in the summer, and also what he felt was a lack of information from city administration regarding the recent response to a request for proposals to operate the airport.

    Dilkens brought forward a motion Monday calling on all minutes from board meetings of the corporations to be sent to councillors on a monthly basis, including agencies funded by the city such as the library, art gallery and development commission.

    It was shot down by a 6-4 vote."