6/13/10

Hydro Revenues: Let's be Fair and Share

Mississippi Mills owns the new hydro generating station at the falls. Mississippi Mills' share of revenue is projected to be at least $7.36 million over 20 years. This asset cost no tax dollars. It is a great project--too bad only Almonte Ward benefits.

Since amalgamation, the Mississippi Mills Council has directed all hydro revenue to Almonte Ward. I think it's time all wards shared that money. It's only fair.

Taxpayers from all wards are footing the bills to renovate Almonte's Old Town Hall and to upgrade Almonte's arena. Why is it that rural residents help pay Almonte's old debts but don't share the hydro assets? Seems unfair.

Background: Mississippi Mills owns 100% of the Mississippi River Power Corporation (MRPC), which owns the new hydro generating plant. Mississippi Mills owns 16% of the Ottawa River Power Corp (ORPC), which transmits electricity. ORPC gives Mississippi Mills $65,430 annually (until 2022). The ORPC also provides annual dividends. The amount ranged between $50-80,000 annually the previous six years. At that rate, ORPC payments will amount to over $2 million in 20 years. Again, all this goes to Almonte.

The combined MRPC and ORPC revenues will be $8-10 million in 20 years. It is unfair to give all that money to Almonte Ward alone.

Almonte Ward didn't pay for the new plant as some people believe--the MRPC borrowed the money and will pay it back from hydro profits. It belongs equally to all of us. The new 4.6 megawatt plant generates $2.1 million in revenue annually. The money covers operating costs and pays for the construction loan, with some left over for Mississippi Mills' coffers.

My Position: I believe we should use the hydro revenues to pay down down Mississippi Mills' rising debts. That would save a fortune in interest charges and benefit all wards.

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