Manor board looks at options to cover costs of aging heating and air conditioning units

LITTLE CURRENT—The Manitoulin Centennial Manor board reviewed its proposed 2018 budget at the meeting last week and discussed how to cover the cost of replacing its building’s automation heating and ventilation system and air conditioning units, which are near the end of their life.

As The Expositor previously reported, Manor staff identified that there have been issues with the heating and ventilation system and that the system is nearing the end of its lifespan.

Manor Administrator Michelle Bond reported to the board that they had received a quote for a new system from Honeywell, the company that installed the current system and has maintained it for the past 20 years, for $82,000. She noted that they are still awaiting quotes from two other companies.

The proposed 2018 budget reflects a $70,000 surplus and includes a two percent increase to the Island municipal contributions.

ExtendiCare Regional Director Keith Clement asked the ExtendiCare accountant, who was presenting the 2018 proposed budget, if the cost of the new system could be worked into the budget.

The accountant responded that it would really “knock down” the surplus and that the remainder of the money would need to come from the building maintenance provisional line item in order to create a balanced budget.

Ms. Bond reminded the board that the home was in need of new air conditioning units, which they had discussed at their last meeting.

“It bothers me that we are not budgeting for what we need,” said board member Wendy Gauthier in reference to the air conditioning units.

Ms. Bond responded that the new units would be approximately $32,000.

“Everything at the home is 50-years-old,” said Board Chair Paul Moffatt. “We need to air on the side of caution and make sure we can replace this equipment.”

Ms. Gauthier noted that she wasn’t comfortable taking funds from the building maintenance provisional line item, as the board had previously reviewed a list of many items at the Manor that are in need of updating or replacing.

“I agree with Wendy,” said Dawn Orr. “Provisional funds are important.”

It was suggested to the board by the ExtendiCare accountant to ask the Island municipalities for a one-time grant of $32,000 to fix/replace the air conditioning unit, opposed to raising the municipal contribution more than the proposed two percent.

Board member Pat MacDonald said that she felt more comfortable asking the municipalities she represents, Central Manitoulin and Tehkummah, for a one-time cost to cover the air conditioning, instead of raising the municipal contribution to cover the cost as it would be compounded over time.

Mr. Clement broke down the estimated figures and noted that the cost would actually be an additional $36,000 on top of the 2018 proposed budget needed to replace the air conditioning units and heating and ventilation, if the board decided to leave the budgeted building maintenance provisional line, and not take any funds from it, and use the $70,000 budgeted surplus.

Mr. Clement also noted that there could be a surplus this year, in which case the funds could be used to purchase some of the air conditioning unit. He added that if this was the case, then the board might not need to ask the municipalities for the additional $36,000 to cover the costs.

“We would need to have the units on-site by the end of the year,” said Ms. Bond. She noted that she would contact ExtendiCare to see what the predicted surplus was for the year and look into purchasing some of the units if possible and to have them there by the end of the year in order for them to qualify as a 2017 purchase.