Cambridge city surplus used to help pay off debt on Preston Auditorium expansion

Cambridge council unanimously passed a motion on Tuesday to use some of the city’s surplus to reduce the amount of interest debt on the Preston Auditorium expansion project.

The motion, brought forward by Ward 1 councillor Helen Shwery, will reallocate $1.36 million of the city’s $2.1 million into the Preston arena project, reducing the amount of interest debt by $822,000. The rest of the surplus will be sent into the Election Reserve Fund ($251,700) and the Self Insurance Fund ($500,000).

“I was very happy, actually ecstatic, to see the various surpluses…And I thank staff for being frugal with taxpayer dollars,” Shwery said.

Multiple members of council and staff praised Shwery’s motion, including Cambridge mayor Jan Liggett and Ward 8 councillor Nicholas Ermeta. Cambridge’s Chief Financial Officer Sheryl Ayres said the money was to be used to help pay for a number of unfunded projects not included in the 2024 budget, but did not mind if it was used to reduce the debt.

Council confirmed a contractor for the project back in November, with the total project budget costing $33.1 million. Additions to the new arena include a new NHL-sized arena, new seating, changerooms, washrooms and office space.

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