County Agrees to Hospital Tax

Part of the County’s tax revenue for 2022 will go to County Hospitals – Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) and Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH).  As reported earlier (see Links below), the two Hospitals’ fund-raising Foundations originally asked for $1M per year for 10 years and after pushback, lowered that to 1% of the County Levy.  As well as regular Council Meetings, the County held two special meetings to consider the request with the latest one being at 9:30 am this morning (Thursday November 4). Each Councillor made their position known and their reasoning and it was soon clear that although a majority favoured some kind of support, it was not to the level requested.  In the end a recorded vote was taken and a decision made to provide $250K per year for five years.

The Proposal

  • Support the Hospitals – 75% to NHH and 25% to CMH
  • Amount as agreed – see below
  • Annually for a period as agreed – see below
  • Only for Capital projects
  • It would be added to the tax levy
  • It would be subject to a written agreement

Position Statements – Highlights

Bob Sanderson – Port Hope
In favour of supporting the Hospitals – we are all in favour [they are not] and we are just discussing details – we should be lobbying the Province to pay for Capital items – Bob wanted a decision to come out of the meeting.

Brian Ostrander – Brighton
“Struggling with it” – favoured a limited amount – it was his suggestion that it be $250K – agreed that the Province should be paying for Capital items.

John Henderson – Cobourg
Supportive – wants a fixed 5 year term – the cost per month would be less than the price of a cup of tea at Tim Hortons – wants to find the sweet spot.

Bill Cane – Hamilton
Bill said let’s call it what it is, a Tax – it would be on top of an expected large request from Public Works – Hospitals are not a County responsibility – people should have a choice about supporting Hospitals.

Mandy Martin – Deputy Warden – Cramahe
Mandy asked “where is the Private Sector” – Public Health is a Provincial responsibility – the County already spends 25% of the budget on health care – very opposed – and “we are going on emotion”, it’s not a matter of nice guys (or gals) and we are setting a precedent.

Gail Latchford – Alnwick Haldimand
Not in favour of 10 years or a huge amount – having a good hospital helps economic development – the idea should be reviewed annually – it’s not our mandate.

Motions Passed

Two motions were passed – the first expressing support and the second with details – final motion below.  Both were recorded votes with “weighting” as follows: Alnwick Haldimand (2 votes); Brighton (4 votes); Cobourg (6 votes); Cramahe (2 votes); Hamilton (3 votes); Port Hope (5 votes); Trent Hills (4 votes).

Both votes were:

  • Brian Ostrander – In favour
  • Mandy Martin – Against
  • Bill Cane – Against
  • Bob Crate – In favour
  • John Henderson – In favour
  • Bob Sanderson – In favour
  • Gail Latchford – In favour

The weighted results were 21 In favour and 5 Against.

Brian Ostrander moved and Gail Latchford seconded the following (final) motion:

Whereas Northumberland County Council considered the Northumberland Hills and Campbellford Memorial Hospitals’ revised funding request at !he October 20, 2021 meeting, and deferred the matter to a Special Council Meeting to be held on November 4, 2021; and

Whereas Council reviewed the Hospitals’ correspondence dated October 25, 2021 and their latest revised funding request;

Be It Resolved That Northumberland County Council receive the County staff presentation ‘Hospital Funding Request, November 4, 2021’ for information; and

Be it Further Resolved That Council deem it appropriate to fund the two Hospital Foundations in the manner outlined below and Council direct staff to:

a) through a formal Funding Agreement to be prepared by County staff and signed by the Hospitals’ Foundations and the County, provide funding to the Hospital Foundations in the amount of $250,000 on an annual basis for a total of five years, for capital expenses, commencing in 2022, to include:

  • Allocation of funds between NHH (75%) and CMH (25%),
  • County identification of specific capital items/projects for funding,
  • Expenditure eligibility restricted to capital only (exclusive of operating and administrative costs),
  • Expenditure eligibility restricting use of funds for debt servicing,
  • Payment milestone and certification of expenditures,
  • Reporting requirements,
  • Submission of a rolling forecast on County funded items/projects, Communication requirements,
  • Possible County representation on an appropriate hospital Board and/or Committee.

In response to a media question, staff responded that the impact on the average taxpayer would be $5.14 per year.

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26 Comments
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Merle Gingrich
5 November 2021 3:19 pm

If this is to be a donation then we as tax payers should get a tax receipt.
Iagree with Mandy

Kevin
5 November 2021 12:26 pm

The $250,000 annual funding will “be added to the tax levy.” Does this mean the county portion of our property taxes will be increasing? Or does this mean that the $250,000 will be taken from what we already pay in property taxes requiring cuts somewhere else? With the proposed increase in Cobourg taxes and our recent higher inflation rates we will have to ‘tighten our belts’. Food prices are part of the inflation which might help to literally tighten our belts.

Kathleen
5 November 2021 10:29 am

I’m gobsmacked! This Council is actually allowed to go out of their scope and allocate our tax dollars to something that is clearly defined as a Provincial responsibility?

Gerinator
Reply to  Kathleen
8 November 2021 7:44 pm

?Why surprised. This County has downloaded accessible housing, its accountability, onto Cobourg and the Cobourg Councillors accepted that accountability. No question that this Province is downloading it accountabilities across the social and governance spectrum. Mandy has it right.

Dunkirk
4 November 2021 6:30 pm

If our elected officials choose to make a personal donation to the Hospital Foundations, please do. Committing—on the public’s behalf to any 7 figure term agreement is an outrage.
The hospital foundation(s) should make the case for their needs made to MPP Piccini when he and his team get back from saving the planet at the Climate Conference in Glasgow.

cornbread
Reply to  Dunkirk
5 November 2021 11:43 am

I didn’t know our member of Provincial Govt. had a Roll in Climate Change

cornbread
Reply to  Dunkirk
5 November 2021 3:59 pm

I hope all residents remember who voted for “Yes” or “No” come the next local elections.

Rob
Reply to  cornbread
5 November 2021 4:44 pm

See you later Henderson – he has not been an effective leader for Council since being elected. Very disappointed.

Rob
4 November 2021 4:10 pm

Ridiculous decision by this group elected officials as the Province announces more healthcare funding today. What an absolute disappointment. Spending the money of others in the last 12 months of their respective terms. Out of scope and it should have been pushed back to Dave Piccini.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
4 November 2021 7:35 pm

The only sensible comments were by Mandy; the positions of the others are appalling.

Dunkirk
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 November 2021 8:34 am

I’m sorry, Ken. Everyone’s reaction is rational and based on the fact that this is another surprise. We have to assume that the County is operating on some accrued surpluses that the Board on their own, considers excess and they are putting some of it to address a community need that they alone feel warrants it. The Mayor where I live who sits on the Board certainly doesn’t keep us informed of County affairs, so, how is the average person supposed to react?
Just because the hospital fdn might be a good cause doesn’t make the decision right.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dunkirk
5 November 2021 9:32 am

Dunkirk, I don’t quite understand your comments.

Everyone favours having excellent hospital facilities. However I must respectfully disagree that “everyone’s comments are rational”; in this case I feel that of our county representatives only Maryor Martin’s were.

Insofar as I know none of our country representatives keep their constituents informed. Certainly Cobourg’s mayor never asks for direction from our Council and he only reports decisions as fait accompli.

Having a “surplus” as you posit doesn’t mean that it should be spent on things that are not the county’s responsibility even though they may represent an excellent cause. You got it right with: “Just because the hospital fdn might be a good cause doesn’t make the decision right.” As a further thought, if by “hospital fdn” you mean the Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation registered charity that might not be the ideal funding vehicle. Consider that they spent $432,621 last year on compensation for charity staff rather than medical facilities at the hospital.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Alma Beston
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 November 2021 10:54 am

What constitues “charity staff” please?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Alma Beston
5 November 2021 7:47 pm

“charity staff” = “staff who are paid by the charity”
According to their most recent Canada Revenue Agency return they have 4 staff each earning between $40,000 and $79,999 plus one staff earning between $120,000 and $159,999.

You can find the official financial information for any charity at https://apps.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/hacc/srch/pub/bscSrch

Some of the results are eye popping!

Dunkirk
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 November 2021 11:39 am

I stand corrected, Ken. I thought you were in disagreement with the early posters –like me–who did not support the County decision. We are very much on the same page–asking elected reps to stay in their lanes.

cornbread
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 November 2021 8:36 pm

Who are the Charity Staff Members???

Ken Strauss
Reply to  John Draper
5 November 2021 9:54 pm

That link shows the Executive Director plus three other staff. In 2020 staff included Rhonda Cunningham, Wendy Bridgman, Adrienne Burns, Natasha Jacobs and Jennifer Gilmer for a total of five. However, why do the names matter?

cornbread
Reply to  Ken Strauss
6 November 2021 6:32 am

Just got interest sake

Ken Strauss
Reply to  cornbread
6 November 2021 8:33 am

After the interest in compensation costs for the Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation I looked at the Campbellford Memorial Hospital Foundation. According to their CRA filings they spent a total of $264,240 on compensation in 2020. This includes one person earning $40,000 to 79,999 plus one earning $120,000 to $159,999. In addition, they paid $48,584 in compensation to part-time workers.

Looked at differently, the entire annual amount from the County is insufficient to pay just the overhead expenses for the Campbellford Hospital Foundation and leaves nothing to purchase equipment for the hospital.

ben
4 November 2021 1:47 pm

My one and only comment – Health spending is a Provincial responsibility. Well done Mayor Martin in not supporting this outrageous request. The hospitals should be talking to the local MPP not the County Council.

Alma Beston
Reply to  ben
5 November 2021 10:55 am

The Ontario Government has give a number of “gifts” of money to NHH is the past 2 years.

ben
Reply to  Alma Beston
6 November 2021 5:59 pm

And so they should Alma, obviously not enough to fund the current requirements.

Frenchy
Reply to  ben
6 November 2021 10:20 pm

How much is enough ben?

Marsha
Reply to  ben
6 November 2021 6:25 pm

I am pleased to see that Mayors Martin and Cane are understanding the role of the County.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Marsha
6 November 2021 8:40 pm

Sadly, Marsha, the other five representatives don’t understand.