Board of Health passes budget with slight increase

Municipalities to see increase in stipends

SUDBURY—The Sudbury and District Health Unit Board of Health has passed its budget for 2018 that will see a slight increase overall, and municipalities will seen an increase in their stipends for the upcoming year.

France Quirion, Director of Corporate Services for the SDHU, told the Recorder after a board meeting on Thursday of last week, “the board has passed the 2018 budget. There is a slight increase overall of .53 percent overall from last year. The overall budget will be $22,896,074.”

“There will be an increase in the municipal levies, of 1.73 percent,” said Ms. Quirion.

“Every year there are variable cost increases for such things as hydro for lighting in our buildings, professional fees, salaries and benefits for employees,” said Ms. Quirion. “We look at all opportunities available for savings, and came in with a reasonable budget for 2018. We were able to bring in cost saving measures through attrition as well, so we are in a good position moving into 2018.”

She explained, “no, there will be no changes or reductions in programs over the next year.”

The recommended 2018 cost-shared budget is  a product of careful deliberations to ensure increasing costs are associated with in a changing landscape with minimal impact to service delivery. There are a   number of unknowns with the January 1, 2018 implementation of new standards for public health programs and new organization standards in addition to a new accountability framework. Management continues to work extremely hard in the context of significant fiscal pressures to maintain quality programs and respond to local public health needs.

It was noted the anticipated and unanticipated attrition that occurred within 2017 were an integral component of attaining a balanced budget for 2018. Based on reasonably conservative assumptions, however, continued fiscal pressures are projected to result in cumulative shortfalls of over $401K in 2019 and over $812K in 2020. Without an injection of provincial funding, additional and significant cost reductions are anticipated to be required in future fiscal periods and will be the subject of future deliberations.

The Ontario government and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) continue to operate in an environment of fiscal constrain with aggressive targets to achieve a balanced budget, the SDHU notes. The ministry has clearly advised health units that they should not assume growth funding in 2017 and for the future, eliminating the need to apply the funding model  developed in 2015 and applied to funding allocations in 2015 and 2016.

In addition, provincial funding for 100 percent ministry funded programs has not increased for many years. This funding freeze h as resulted in increased pressures to maintain service delivery levels, the SDHU continues. These pressures have been managed to date with reallocation between budget lines, however this is not a sustainable option.

For Manitoulin Island municipalities, the Township of Assiginack will be paying $488 more to the budget this year with a contribution of  $32,747; Billings $230 increase- $21,762 in total; Burpee and Mills an increase of $342 for 11,846; Central Manitoulin increase of $635 or $74,337 in total; Gordon-Barrie Island an increase of $823 to $19,479; Gore Bay an increase of  $617 for a total of $32,105; NEMI an increase of $1,785 or  $92,456 in total, and Tehkummah will see an increase of $339 for their contribution of $15,769.