Thursday, April 3, 2014

CityWest shakes the sofa cushions

As part of Tuesday evenings financial review, City Financial Officer Corinne Bomben announced that the city owned telecommunication company CityWest had added on to their original dividend amount.

After sharpening some pencils and maybe shaking some couch cushions, CityWest now will allocate 400,000 dollars to the city's finance department, a significant jump from the original amount of 250,000 dollars of but one week ago.

As we first outlined on the blog back on March 26th, Council held off on their final budget deliberations to await further background from CityWest,  with Councillor Anna Ashley suggesting that if they were not able to increase their financial return to the city, then perhaps it may be time for the city to conduct a cost/benefit analysis.

In the end Council's financial request for more money was answered, with CityWest apparently advising the City that it will now deliver the increased dividend of 400,000 dollars.

And while the money may come in handy for this years budget prognostications, the overall theme of consistent dividend return still remains an interesting question.

With the days of much larger dividends now seemingly part of the past history of relationship between City and the company.

While the suggestion of a cost benefit analysis appears to have been mentioned by way of accessing a larger amount of dividend for this year, Council may wish to give the idea a second thought anyways.

It's a theme that becomes popular each year as City Council reviews its budget options and the contribution that CityWest makes.

Last year's surprise announcement on dividends, clearly put the idea of some form of larger oversight on the communication company on the mind of Council, but as the past has shown, the move towards that prospect seemed to evaporate with time.

Other than the annual visit by the CityWest board, which in the past has found the city councillors rather shy in asking demanding questions of the telecommunication company, not much is known publicly about how the company operates and its relationship with the City that owns it.

An independent cost benefit analysis may provide City Council with more information on the nature of their investment, as well as provide some guidance for the future.

Something that should provide a new council in 2015 with much more background as to what they should expect from the company each year, or if they even wish to continue to own the company.

For past items of interest on CityWest see our Communications page, there are more items on discussion topics  from City council available on our archive page.

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