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Hamilton - At a City Hall media conference today, Hamilton Water Watch, a pro-public water coalition announced a substantial contribution to Councillor Sam Merulla’s Freedom Of Information (FOI) request seeking further financial disclosure on the City’s current private water contract.

WHO: Hamilton Water Watch WHAT: Media Conference to announce contribution to Councillor Sam Merulla private water contract FOI WHERE: Hamilton City Hall, 2nd Floor Councillor’s Lounge WHEN: Friday, May 21, 2004, 11:00 a.m.

Councillor Merulla was forced to file a FOI request for further financial disclosure about repair costs associated with a 10-year contract with a private operator for water and wastewater treatment. The City has said that they will charge $2,800 for the labour involved in retrieving the information from archives.

“There are many unanswered questions about the actual costs incurred by the City as part of this contract. These private deals are kept so secretive that not even our elected representatives on council are given the full financial picture. It’s a shame that Councillor Merulla has to pay for information that should have already been made public,” says Hamilton Water Watch spokesperson Grant Ranalli.

Hamilton Water Watch, a community coalition promoting the return of the City’s water and wastewater treatment to public operation, launched their fundraising campaign for the Merulla FOI mid-April. At tomorrow’s media conference, Councillor Merulla will receive a cheque from the coalition that the Councillor says he intends to “take immediately down the hall to the clerk’s office, so we get this information flowing.”

Hamilton Water Watch includes individual members of the Hamilton community, in addition to the following organizations: Hamilton Council of Canadians, Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP); Canadian Union of Public Employees; Hamilton and District Labour Council; Environment Hamilton. For more information, please contact:

Grant Ranalli Hamilton Water Watch Steering Committee (905) 545-0532 Sam Merulla Hamilton City Councillor (905) 546-4512