Regional Hospital District adopts 2016 budget

The tax rate set by the Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District is going down slightly in 2016 compared to last year.

With an $81.5 million budget for 2016, the Regional Hospital District has approved an estimated tax rate of $81 per $100,000 of assessed property value. Last year’s tax rate was $84 per $100,000 of assessed property value. Charlie Cornfield, chair of the Regional Hospital District Board, said the tax rate reflects the board’s strategy of a gradual tax increase over the last six years in order to borrow less money and shorten the borrowing time span from 30 years to 10 years for the new hospitals in both Campbell River and the Comox Valley.

“Taxpayers this year will see little or no change to their rates demonstrating the success of this gradual tax increase,” Cornfield said in release. “These new state-of-the-art hospitals, to be completed fall, 2018, will be providing top-notch service to residents of our region for many years to come.”

At the beginning of 2016, the reserve balance was fully expended for the North Island Hospitals Project. The hospital district is responsible for funding 40 per cent of the capital costs for the new hospitals and in 2016, expenses for this project will be $61.9 million. That sum will be paid in quarterly instalments through the hospital district’s future expenditure reserve fund and the Municipal Finance Authority.

In addition to the funding for the new hospitals, the hospital district has also allocated $1.85 million for new capital projects and equipment in the existing hospitals in Campbell River and the Comox Valley and in other facilities supported by the Regional Hospital District. The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District provides capital funding, cost shared with the provincial government on a 60/40 basis, with the hospital district portion being 40 per cent.

When Campbell River taxpayers get their property tax bills they will also be seeing a 2.45 per cent increase to their city property taxes, as well as an increase not get finalized from the Strathcona Regional District.