Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District sticks to same tax requisiti0n

Board passes provisional budget for now, with final version planned for March 2o22

The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) is planning on a “stay the course” budget.

Those were the words of its acting chief financial officer, Kevin Douville, to board members at their meeting on Nov. 18.

He was providing an overview of the board’s provisional budget for 2022. CSRHD oversees raising revenue for acute care capital projects in the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts.

For the coming year, CSRHD expects to stick to the same requisition amount of $12.6 million from the regions. This follows a drop by $4.4 million for the current year from the previous year’s budget. Based on a residential rate the requisition works out to $0.3821 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or for a home assessed at $500,000, for example, the tax levy would work out to $191.

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Once again, the largest portion of the money will go toward debt servicing, especially for the two hospital campuses that opened in Campbell River and Courtenay in 2017. This represents about $10.8 million.

“The lion’s share of that, of course, is for the North Island hospital project,” Douville said.

The budget also included provisions for capital projects such as annual equipment needs, $5,000 grants that CSRHD provides to the six smaller, rural areas for their facilities, administrative expenses, professional fees and other costs. They also transfer surplus money to reserves for future capital expenses, though there was none listed in the provisional budget. This information is to be added before a finalized budget.

The provisional budget provides an early chance for the board to get a look at the budget for the coming year. As Douville said, staff will be able to provide an update in February once they have more up-to-date information from Island Health’s list of projects and assessment value numbers available in January. The plan is then to use the new information for a final budget before the end of March. The provisional budget is a legislative requirement for hospital districts to grant authority on expenditures until it is replaced by the final annual budget in March.

Directors had some questions about details on reserve holdings, potential increases in grant funding for rural clinics and that status of a capital project that was being rolled over, but the board adopted the provisional budget as presented, with no directors opposed.

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