Thursday, June 26, 2014

Watson Island "Burn Rate" estimated at 50 to 60 thousand per month

The public comment portion regarding the City's 2013 Annual Report of Monday's Council meeting provided for a brief glimpse into some of the financial obligation of the city when it comes to maintenance issues at Watson Island.

The review of recent developments at the industrial site and disclosure of the cost of ongoing maintenance costs came as part of Council's Open Forum section of Monday nights session, which saw  Mr. Larry Golden once again take to the microphone.

This time he asked Council members how much money was currently being spent on maintenance issues at the Watson island industrial site and how the city planned to cover those costs.

As part of the answer to Mr. Golden's question, Mayor Mussallem provided some background on the nature of those costs, highlighting how they had been reduced from their previous totals of 80 to 100 thousand dollars per month.

Those costs apparently reduced after Council had tasked City Manager Robert Long to reduce some of the ongoing burden from the industrial site, mainly through the removal of some of the monitoring concerns from the site.

As for the current "burn rate" on Watson Island maintenance, the Mayor turned the proceedings over to the City's Financial Officer Corinne Bomben.

She explained that the current rate of maintenance costs were in the 50 to 60 thousand dollar range and that it was hoped by the City that those costs would be addressed by way of rental income from the site.

While it's quite helpful of Mr. Golden to seek out such information from the city, questions of this nature should actually be the domain of the Council members, who collectively should be more proactive on behalf of the city's residents.

Not only should the city's council members be raising those kinds of questions of staff in public forum as part of their duties on Council, but they should also be seeking out ways to have such details made more accessible to the city's residents, perhaps making better use of the city's website.

Through the trials and tribulations that have been the Watson Island file through the years, few if any details have ever really been delivered in public forum by council members. For many residents developments both past and current remain very much a mystery.

Instead it seems that we have to wait for someone to take advantage of a public question period, in this case, a comment on the Annual report to seek a little clarity on events.

Clearly the flow of information on Watson Island could use a little improvement from Council.

You can review this short review of the Watson island file of Monday night from the City's Video Archive, the discussion starts at the 43 minute mark and continues on for five minutes or so.

For more background on developments at Watson Island see our archive page for the industrial site.

More background on items of note from City council can be found on  our archive page.

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