SDHU board passes increased budget

SUDBURY—While the Sudbury and District Health Unit budget has increased for 2013, it will not mean an increase in the overall municipal levy for the budgeted year.

At a meeting last week, the Sudbury and District Board of Health passed a motion accepting the proposed 2013 health unit budget. The motion for the 2013 operating budget for cost shared programs and services states, “that the Sudbury and District Board of Health approve the 2013 operating budget for cost-shared programs and services in the amount of $22,619,386. The total includes the Vector Borne Disease control contingency budget of $500,000, the municipal portion of which will be levied only if the Medical Officer of Health requires such control measures in 2013.”

The recommended 2013 budget compared with the 2012 provincially approved budget represents a 1.4 percent increase overall and a 20 percent increase in the provincial cost-shared grant. Within the budget it is noted that under expenditures, “the 1.4 percent overall increase over the 2012 cost-shared budget is comprised of benefits increases of 0.3 percent and salary cost increases (negotiated scheduled rate increases and step increases) of 1.8 percent.”

“The 2013 budget is recommended as a budget that seeks to protect service delivery levels and that continues to work toward an effective and sustainable public health system in an environment of significant economic challenges locally and provincially,” the briefing notes for the budget explain.

“The 2012 budget included the costs for the small drinking water systems (SDWS) program on a cost-shared basis,” the SDHU said. “The SDWS program was originally introduced as a 100 percent provincially-funded program in April 2008, with an expectation that it would be migrated to the cost-shared budget within a number of years once initial system inspections were completed. As the board is aware, the 2012 funding announcement included new SDWS funding criteria which resulted in a grant shortfall of $13,945. The Board of Health was able to maintain the level of service in its mandatory program by applying the same ministry/municipal funding ratio to this program as the other cost-shared programs (71:29), resulting in an addition of $7,240 to the municipal levy.”

“The recommended 2013 budget maintains 2012 service levels. Management has worked extremely hard in the context of significant fiscal pressures to achieve this important goal,” the budget briefing notes point out. As well, the budget background indicates the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) did not communicate with boards of health regarding anticipated 2013 funding increases to the mandatory programs. We are however, cognizant of the environment of fiscal restraint across the broader public sector.”

In looking at revenues by funding agency, the MOHLTC is increasing its funding by 0.1 percent or $286,293. Municipalities ‘funding has also increased by 0.1 percent or $3,279 while other revenues went up 1.4 percent or $301,572.

The 2013 (excluding VBD contingency) is a total of $22,619,386, an increase over the 2012 budget of $22,317,814, while the total municipal levy has gone up from $6,490,066 to $6,493,345 in 2013.

Based on population ratios, the municipal levies and the difference for Manitoulin municipalities will be: Assiginack, an increase of $988; Billings, an increase of $788; Burpee and Mills, an increase of $265; Central Manitoulin, an increase of $3,603; Gordon/Barrie Island, an increase of $138; Gore Bay, an increase of $1,703; Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, an increase of $1,860; and Tehkummah, an increase of $656.

Tom Sasvari