You may recall that a suggestion from the Bay Observer, that Hamilton taxpayers may have paid upwards of $600.00.00 for a washroom built by the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, caused both angst and interest. Since then, through communications with The Hamiltonian, with other sources and through the recent GIC meeting, finance chief Roberto Rossini clarified that the washroom did not cost upwards of $600,000.00. Rossini explained that the cost of the washroom was billed alongside costs for other things (for example, management fees, rest areas etc), and thus the invoice cost was not solely for the washroom construction. Rossini added that the price of the washroom was approximately $200,000.00
The Hamiltonian subsequently reached out to Clr. Jackson, Clr. Farr and Roberto Rossini and asked what the initial estimated cost for the canal washroom was, what was the actual cost that it came to, and if there was a cost overrun, to explain the reason for it. Some of our readers believed that the cost of the washroom (being roughly $200,000.00 according to Mr. Rossini), sounded on the high side. We thought a comparison of the initial estimate to the actual costs, was an interesting question that Hamilton taxpayers are entitled to know the answer to.
While we received replies from Clrs. Farr and Jackson, their replies did not get us any further to getting
answers to the questions. Mr. Rossini attempted to help, and suggested that he had already answered the questions in previous material he sent to us, and at GIC. Mr. Rossini provided a copy of the material he was referencing.
However, the material referenced provided the approximate actual cost of the washroom, and clarified that the cost of the washroom was lumped in with other costs. The material Mr. Rossini referenced did not advise as to what the estimated cost was for the washroom at the onset, how that compares to the actual cost, and why there was a variance (if any).
We followed up with Mr. Rossini and Clrs Farr and Jackson today. Mr. Rossini's reply is quoted verbatim as follows: "I will not be replying further. Thank you".
The reply was a bit surprising as Mr. Rossini has been always been very responsive. Clrs. Farr and Jackson continue to avert providing an answer to the aforementioned questions.
The Hamiltonian submits that it is just not the cost of a washroom that is of interest. It is the underlying sense of accountability, oversight and appropriate controls that taxpayers would reasonably expect to be in place.
We hope that Clrs. Jackson and Farr reconsider and recognize the legitimacy of the questions posed and the need to answer to Hamiltonians. Stewardship of tax dollars calls for transparency, not mystery.