Transparency of Holdco operations and finances

The operating budget for Cobourg in 2014 was $20.75M. Another town entity had an operating budget of 50% more than the whole town or about $32M in 2014. This company has become to be know as Holdco but what is “Holdco”?Officially the name is “Town of Cobourg Holdings, Inc” and is 99.9% owned by Town of Cobourg (the other 0.1% is owned by the Town of Cramahe).

Holdco consists of three separate businesses:

Cobourg Networks Inc. (CNI)

  •  Fibre optics
  • Water heater rentals (sold to EnerCare)
  • Streetlights

Lakefront Utility Services (LUSI)

  • Water and Sewers

Lakefront Utilities Inc.

  • Electricity

The Mayor says “Lakefront and other pieces of Holdco are private so no requirement to reveal details of their operations” although they are owned by the taxpayers. That is correct; there is no legal requirement to divulge details. We, the owners, deserve to have the full details. Other similar companies such as Toronto Hydro and Peterborough Utilities provide detailed annual reports.

Secrecy leads to many questionable results:

  • There is no oversight by Council
  • Money that was lost on the streetlight fiasco was never revealed
  • There is no information on the number of staff, their pay, or the pension obligations
  • Lakefront makes a 9.2% Return on Equity (meaning higher costs for electricity than it should be)
  • The water heater business was sold to EnerCare without consultation with people in Cobourg (no information on what the termination charges were)
  • Profits are used as a slush fund ($600K from the Holdco “reserve” was to be used for the Park Theatre purchase) since spending “won’t raise taxes” according to our Mayor
  • These profits could be used to lower taxes or electricity rates.

The CTA feels that Cobourg’s taxpayers deserve to know what is going on and should have control of Holdco!