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Fire station rent debt written off

Hamilton Fire Station (File photograph)

A longstanding dispute between Government and the Corporation of Hamilton over the city’s fire station has come to an end.

The municipality agreed to write off $4.55 million in rental income owed in exchange for Government writing off $6.27 million owed to it by the Corporation, along with almost $3 million in tipping fees.

Rental fees owed for the King Street station had mounted up for almost decade since a $1 “peppercorn lease” ended in 2008.

Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said: “The Corporation wishes to thank this Government for agreeing to resolve, in part, a longstanding issue through the write-off of the potential debt related to the conclusion of the fire service agreement, its costs and loss of rents through the lack of a new lease.

“I am looking forward to a positive outcome in 2018 concerning this and other outstanding issues with Government, bearing in mind the monies being recorded here are for rents never received and liabilities never paid for.

Mr Gosling added: “This changes the stated financial wellbeing of the Corporation as it removes a large piece of potential liability but has little if any impact on the cashflow or reserves.”

The Corporation’s audited financial statements for 2017, released yesterday, show a growth in revenue at the municipality.

Total year-on-year revenue rose by $1.2 million to 23.4 million, attributed to increased income from wharf and dock fees, parking fees and parking tickets.

Increased expenditure on parks, gardens and road maintenance led to an increase in expenditure of $143,000 to $517,000.