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Staff report recommends boost in support for new hospital

Municipal staff, at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, are recommending council commits a maximum of $4.5 million to the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation and the financial plan be determined during the 2019 budget process.

In April, Foundation Executive Director Penny Rolinski and chair Monica Alyea asked the municipality to up its $1.25 million pledge to $4.5 million in support of the new hospital campaign, noting the funds would represent about 27 per cent of the $16.5 million the foundation is tasked with raising. The government pays 90 per cent of the capital costs and the foundation must raise roughly 10 per cent of construction costs (estimated at $12.7 million); 100 per cent of the cost for equipment and furnishings, as well as running its annual campaigns to replaced outdated equipment.

The support, Rolinski told council, would go a long way toward showing the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care that the community is serious about having a new facility and 27 per cent is considered an average donation from a municipality. Reflected on the community it equates to about $52 a year per household, over seven years.

Donations and pledges already total more thn $6 million and council’s support would bring the total to more than $10 million before the foundation would seek community opportunities for support, likely in 2021.

Based on current project timelines, the new hospital construction would begin in 2022 with an estimated completion early in 2025. Financial commitment from the municipality is not required to be advanced until 2023.

The hospital is in stage two of five – the functional program, which involves detailing programs and services and how they fit in the new facility; as well as reviewing staff, equipment and space requirements. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) has provided a planning grant of up to $500,000 to assist QHC with planning the redevelopment.

Before submitting the Stage 2 material to the MOHLTC for approval, the hospital’s foundation must demonstrate progress toward raising the local share of the new hospital.

The new hospital project budget is estimated between $75-$80 million.

The CAO’s office has noted that given current reserves and tax levy constraints, “it is not financially prudent to raise $4.5 million by 2023. Raising this amount over the next five years would require an increase of $900,000 to the tax levey, or a 2.5 per cent tax increase. Therefore, it is recommended the municipality utilize a financing plan that will fund the 2023 contribution over a longer period of time… to reduce impact to ratepayers and ensure both current and future residents contribute financially to the facility.”

Staff has confirmed the municipality can borrow from Infrastructure Ontario to fund a portion of its financial commitment. Alternative borrowing structures will also be reviewed.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Fred says:

    The wrong doing is Municipal staff recommending the amount to be funded. Not in anyway their role.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    I seem to recall that the Hospital Foundation made a formal request for increased financial support from council? I believe Council then asked staff to investigate and then to report back. I don’t believe there is any wrong doing here.

    However, what will be a concern is the future funding of our hospital, from the provincial level. Healthcare has primarily been funded from both the feds and the province. My question is – to what extent is any municipality expected to fund hospitals? While I believe it is needed and the right thing to do for us to show real financial support – I also believe there has to be some recognition as to how much can any municipality handle and to have upper level governments ensure that healthcare is equally funded throughout the province.

  3. Gary Mooney says:

    Fred, you make a good point. Council is supposed to set policy; staff is supposed to implement policy and manage operations.

    But staff makes recommedations all the time — sometimes at the request of Council, other times on a proactive basis.

    I’m not clear on how such recommedations are developed. For instance, does the Mayor suggest the approach? Or does staff refer to the County’s strategic plan and other guidelines for direction?

  4. Fred says:

    First of all of course we all want a new viable hospital. But since when was it staffs role to be making recommendations on the amount of Municipal financial support? It is not their role at all! It is Councils role. It is staffs job to find the best way to implement and finance Councils decision, but by no means should they be involved in recommending amounts.

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