Slight increase in EMS costs
PARRY SOUND – Although no increase would be preferred, town council is pleased with a two per cent increase on this year’s emergency medical services budget.
Upon the recommendation of the EMS Advis ory Committee, council passed the $7.9 million dollar budget at its meeting last week.
“I’m happy to see a two per cent increase, not that I like to see any increase at all, but in previous years EMS has been one of those areas that the town has had to increase quite substantially,” said Coun. Dan McCauley.
McCauley asked Brenda Dobson, town director of finance and Provincial Offenses Act court services, why there was such a small increase this year, over years past.
“In the last four years, with land ambulance, we’ve seen increases ranging between eight per cent and 15 per cent,” Dobson said. “During the first two years of the four years we had to build the levy up to be equal to or greater than the 50 per cent (EMS is) receiving from the province, otherwise the province wouldn’t match our dollars, rather than funding from reserves. In mid-2011, after a report was completed on the service, there were certain (aspects) that had to be implemented in the Powassan area, and that was implemented in mid-2011.
“Whenever you do service enhancements, it takes at least one full year for the Ministry (of Health) to catch up with their funding, so in 2012 we’d seen the contract with the West Parry Sound Health Centre level out and we’re looking at an increase of just under $150,000 this year, whereas last year it was up around $300,000 relating to service enhancements.”
Dobson said additionally, the town was able to trim its administrative costs and there are no service enhancements this year.
“The budget for the town’s administrative costs was reduced by $66,695 from 2012, primarily related to an organizational restructuring, which will combine the positions of fire chief and director and also have the director oversee parking and bylaw operations.”