Councilman tries to clear ‘ugly rumour’ about Progress Fund

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A city councillor is trying to clear up an “ugly rumour” that the corporation is dipping into the $25 million principal of the Progress Fund.

Coun. Claude McIntosh asked CFO Tracey Bailey Monday night whether the city has spent any of the principal. Bailey said no.

McIntosh told Cornwall Newswatch he heard the rumour twice that the city had “pulled $1.5 million out of the Progress Fund to help our tax rate” and wanted to clear it up on the record.

McIntosh said auditors MNP were fair in their assessment that the city didn’t follow policy by keeping back 20 per cent of interest income in the fund when the fair market value fell below $25 million.

But the city did not spend any of the $25 million nest egg.

“The only money we’ve taken out is to pay the Benson Center (loan). If you go through it, we’ve got $25 million still in there. That hasn’t budged. But there’s an ugly rumour out there that’s what we did.”

Financial statements as of the end of March show the balance of the Progress Fund is $25,529,243.12.