Wednesday, December 7, 2016

CityWest to deliver $400,000 Distribution payment to City

Mayor Lee Brain accepting a distribution
cheque for $400,000 from CityWest
The city owned communication company CityWest is delivering a 400,000 dollar distribution to its owners the City of Prince Rupert, the news of the payment released today following a shareholder event hosted by the phone company.

In a media release issued today, CityWest's newly installed CEO Chris Marret directed attention to how it was Superior Customer Service that has generated the year end payment to the City.

“The investments that we have made in order to provide our customers with a superior experience have allowed us to remain a profitable company, and we’re happy to once again present our shareholder with a distribution payment,”  ... “But none of this would be possible without the amazing work of our passionate staff.”-- CityWest CEO Chris Marret on the latest distribution payment for the City of Prince Rupert

While a welcome amount of cash for city coffers, the 400,000 dollar financial delivery does not provide for any increase for 2016, mirroring much of what the telecommunication company has delivered in recent years (2015, 2014).

As part of the announcement of today,  CityWest notes that since shifting to a private corporation status in 2005, it has provided the city with 6.7 million dollars in dividends and distribution payments, as well as delivering 1 million dollars in local taxes and levies.

The $400,000 distribution amounts of recent years however are significantly less than the financial benefits to the city that were once listed in the millions.

Those larger amounts of return go back to the days of CityTel as it was known at the time, prior to the communication provider becoming a private corporation and adopting more of what seems to be an arms length part of the City's corporate structure.

The last time that the City received a financial transfer of over 1 million dollars from its communication holding was earlier this century, with Council members of the time expressing their concerns over some of the diminishing returns for their investment.

That shift towards privatization has also seen City Council direct less public attention to the topic of CityWest and its financial goals and dividend returns.

Civic oversight was once a regular part of a Council year, however in more recent times, company representatives have rarely been called on to provide a public update to Council. Something which once allowed for council members, speaking on behalf of the city's residents, to ask questions of the company about the city's major investment.

As part of the CityWest announcement, City Manager Robert Long, who is also the Board Chair for CityWest  provided a few comments to herald the financial transfer to the city's bank account.

“It is a great asset for the City and for Prince Rupert as a whole to have a local telecommunications firm that gives back to the community, employs residents, and circulates more dollars back into the regional economy,”  ... “We look forward to seeing the continued improvement of CityWest services under new leadership.”

The full announcement related to the Distribution payment can be reviewed here.

More items related to communications across the Northwest see our archive page here.

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