I would like to apologize to Inverness County Council as it seems that I have insulted you and that my efforts to analyse and critique the airport proposal seems to have offended you. I assume this from the fact that council has not responded to any of my inquiries for additional information, nor have they refuted any claims that I made in my four articles earlier this year about the proposal.
The purpose of my submissions was that after doing a fairly thorough review of the proposal, I had very significant concerns with the proposal and the motivation for the proposal. I am sorry that Warden MacAulay and CAO O’Connor felt so threatened by this analysis that they asked to meet with me at Engage Inverness County in 2015, without asking me prior to the event, behind closed doors instead of publically. At this meeting, the only outcome was that Warden MacAulay felt that I had a lot of energy and that he asked that I direct that energy for the positive of the county.
Well, I am also sorry that Warden MacAulay does not seem to think an analysis of a $9 million proposal by our council by a Chartered Professional Accountant with 22 years of experience in reading and preparing proposals, financial statements and projections and advising not-for-profits, individuals and businesses as a positive thing for our county.
I had attended the Cheticamp public consultation on the proposal and had planned on reading my analysis at this meeting but I would have used up the 20-minute question and answer period, which I thought unfair to the other attendees. This 20-minute limit was a joke perhaps meant to limit the public consultation in my opinion. The presentation was skimmed over by council.
I am also sorry that I corrected the warden as to whether the proposal would cost any more than the three million dollars to the rate payers. You see, he indicated that the airport was projected on a break-even basis. However, the proposal indicates about $120,000 being contributed by the county to making the airport, so call, break-even which I had to point out to the warden and the public at large. Unfortunately, there is much more cost than I had previously determined as I perused the proposal further.
I have been slow at getting back to the people of the county on this since I have been in a battle with the county to access information that the public should have access to. My access to information request I sent October 19th, 2015 was not responded to within 30 days required and I had to file a complaint with the Provincial Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Nova Scotia who finally forced the Municipality to comply with Nova Scotia Law.
In the coming weeks I will point out another $114,000 in costs in the first year of operation of the airport not accounted for. This cost is estimated to total between $600,000 and $1,140,000 over 10 years. I will break down the true value of the jobs that council hopes will repopulate the county, highlight the annual shortfalls that the county has incurred in operations (losses) and highlight that based on current trends, residents of the county that do not get county water will be subsidizing the areas that do have county water. All this and more.
In the mean time, I ask area residents that are not happy with the county to make your voice known because this is all happening while our CAO, Mr. O’Connor got a 4.8 per cent pay raise in 2014 and another 5.3 per cent pay raise in 2015 and is now making almost $123,000 per year based on the audited financial statements.