No more health unit refunds for municipalities
By Stephannie Johnson
February 27, 2013
PARRY SOUND – Municipalities will no longer be getting the unused portion of their health unit levy back.
Most of the programs run by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit are funded 75 per cent by the provincial government, with the remaining 25 per cent by the municipalities, although some are funded 100 per cent by the province.
For the last few years if there was a budget surplus a small portion, about 2.5 per cent of the money to be returned to the municipalities, was tucked away by the health unit into a reserve fund. Instead of keeping 2.5 per cent, they will be putting all of the money away to save for a new facility for the health unit.
“Yes, it is true. All unspent municipal funds will now go into the municipal reserve as the Board of Health voted in favour of removing the previous cap of 1.5 per cent on the municipal reserve,” said health unit medical officer of health Dr. Jim Chirico. “Moving forward, there will be no rebate to municipalities. This is a proactive strategy to lessen any future financial impact on municipalities and allow the health unit to plan for capital projects.”
Additionally, Dr. Chirico said the Board of Health is petitioning the government to add a capital line to its budget, with cost sharing of 75:25 funding.
“Currently, in public health there is no provincial provision, as exists for hospitals, for capital expenditures and money must be diverted from delivery of programs and services, which is not acceptable, especially since public health receives less than 2 per cent of the overall health care budget,” he said.
Dr. Chirico will attend a meeting of the East Parry Sound Steering Committee to explain the need and the process, as soon as the Health Unit board has a firm plan of action to discuss.
Although the funds would be appreciated in cash-strapped Parry Sound, it doesn’t amount to much, said town deputy clerk, executive assistant Brenda Dobson.
“In 2010, our levy was $ 159,561.03 and in 2011 we received a rebate of $ 4,530.76, 2.84 per cent of the original levy,” said Dobson. “In 2011, our levy was $163,307.00 an increase of 2.35 per cent over the 2010 levy and in 2012 we received a rebate of $6,004.36 which equates to 3.68 per cent of the original levy. In 2012, our levy increased to $169,630 from the $163,307 or 3.87 per cent - any such rebate would not be received until later in 2013.”
The town’s 2013 share of the health unit’s levy is $172,025, up from last year’s $169,630, by 1.41 per cent.
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