Coun. Rivette puts tourism, airport on chopping block

Cornwall Regional Airport Commission Chairman Frank Prevost, left, and South Glengarry Infrastructure General Manager Ewen MacDonald make a presentation to the Cornwall budget committee on Feb. 27, 2015. The city is looking at a 1.72 per cent increase to its portion of the airport budget. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – In a bid for Cornwall families to put “bread on the table,” Coun. Andre Rivette wants to slash the tourism and airport budgets.

While city staff suggest the tourism budget could be cut now, there is legal tape to get through to slash the airport budget.

Rivette wanted his counterparts to slash $50,000 from the Cornwall and Seaway Valley Tourism’s $181,144 budget.

“For the taxpayers of Cornwall, what is a priority? Is (tourism and) an airport a priority?,” he said.

But Coun. David Murphy suggested the tourism should be able to talk to the budget committee before making the chop to tourism. Mark MacDonald, who is on the tourism board, backed Murphy’s request.

“This is a huge effect to their budget,” Coun. Carilyne Hebert said, adding she also wanted to hear from the tourism representatives.

“I can tell you what they’re going to say….ouch!,” Coun. Claude McIntosh quipped. “The city pays the services and the counties get the benefit.”

The motion has been deferred until tourism representatives can address the budget committee.

Proposed airport cut

As for cuts to the airport budget, they won’t be coming anytime soon since the City of Cornwall is in a legal contract with South Glengarry.

Cornwall’s portion for the Cornwall Regional Airport is $123,800.

Since South Glengarry’s funding for the airport is capped at $10,000, City CFO Maureen Adams told council Cornwall’s share has actually risen to nearly 93 per cent (compared to the contractual 85-15 Cornwall-South Glengarry split).

A report will be coming back to the budget committee on whether there’s an escape clause in the contract and where savings can be found.

“I agree we’re paying too much. I don’t think this is the place to negotiate deals with neighbouring municipalities,” Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy said.

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