Pankow, Fenik ask for money for hospitals

Mayors Pankow and Fenik came to Committee of the Whole Monday to suggest ways to help reduce the hospitals’ deficit. Photo credit: Sally Smith.
Posted on: June 20, 2018

Sally Smith
editorial@pdgmedia.ca

Two mayors attended Committee of the Whole Monday — Shawn Pankow from Smiths Falls and Perth mayor John Fenik. They spoke to council members and those attending the meeting about the Core Capital Campaign of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, and asked for council’s consideration in their “ask” for money. In opening remarks, Fenik tagged the board as the “finest” in the province, and described the “one hospital, two campuses” as having an “exceptional relationship.” They were there to ask for money to keep the hospitals at the peak performance both have achieved, and to keep them in a state-of-the-art operation mode.

Hospital operations are funded by the province; provincial funding sources include the Local Health Integration Network, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario Health Insurance Program and Cancer Care Ontario.

Traditionally hospital foundations and auxiliaries fund hospital equipment. Over the next 10 years, PSFDH’s projected equipment requirement is $31M to cover such things as the Hospital Information System, MRI and annual capital equipment needs. The challenge is the debt which stands at $7M; considering that in March 2014 the debt was $15.4M and today the debt stands at $7M, the debt load is going in the right direction. The debt was reduced by the generation of surpluses.

This is the suggestion to help reduce the deficit.

“It would be up to each municipality to determine how [to] fund it but the most common approach could be a “Health Care Levy,” explained Pankow. “[This] could be identified as a separate line item in the budget and could be assigned as a percentage. For example, if Smiths Falls Council decided to support it, a 1.35 percent levy applied to all properties in town would generate $180,495 (based on 2017 tax revenue).

“Presumably, as our assessments grow (and I believe they will be up significantly in 2019 based on construction we are experiencing), that actual percentage would likely be lower. So, the higher the assessed value of a property, the higher dollar amount that taxpayer will be contributing.

“As an example, assuming our average home in town has an assessed value of $160,000; the municipal portion of their property tax bill would go from $2613 to approximately $2648 — or about a $35 increase.

“Overall, the impact is not excessive.”

Pankow and Fenik are taking their “ask” show on the road to each municipality: Montague, Tay Valley, Drummond North Elmsley, Perth, Lanark Highlands, Smiths Falls, Rideau Lakes, Elizabethtown-Kitley, Merrickville-Wolford and Central Frontenac.

Councillor Allen, who recently spent six months in and out of hospital with a broken ankle and then physiotherapy, genuinely commented “…we have the best of care. We need these hospitals.”