Campbell River’s new hospital was part of the North Island Hospitals Project. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Comox Strathcona hospital district opts to maintain tax levels

Debt repayment for two hospitals on schedule over 10-year cycle

The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) has opted to stay the course on tax levels for the coming year.

For its latest financial plan, the board is maintaining the tax level for the two regions at $17 million, which has been the average level in recent years.

“The board had some options in front of them,” manager of financial planning Kevin Douville told the Mirror.

With the completion of the North Island Hospitals Projects, the board had considered an option to reduce the tax requisition to $15 million, which was noted in a staff report from January. However, members decided at the March 7 board meeting to keep levels the same in order to generate reserves for future projects.

“It doesn’t mean that that requisition won’t continue to be looked at and re-evaluated,” Douville said.

RELATED STORY: Virtual Tour of the new Campbell River Hospital

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Hospital opening “extremely successful”

The district is comprised of elected directors from the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts and oversees local taxation for health sector capital projects. The district typically contributes 40 per cent of the cost of capital projects for acute care facilities.

At the current $17 million requisition level, reserve contributions will average $4.5 million a year for the next 10 years and with interest should amount to approximately $61 million by the time the debt is retired.

Four years ago, according to the staff report, the district had weighed the idea of reducing the tax requisition, but in light of where the two hospital projects for the Comox Valley and Campbell River area were, the feeling at the time was that there was too much uncertainty in terms of financial commitments. Since the new hospitals opened, the financial picture has become clearer.

“We’re certainly going to be paying off the debt much sooner than we had originally anticipated,” Douville said.

With the projects mostly complete, the CSRHD is on schedule to repay its long-term debt through the provincial Municipal Financial Authority over a 10-year period, by 2028.

“We do have some final costs remaining with respect to the North Island Hospitals Project,” Douville said. “We’re in the last year of payments to Island Health in that regard.”

Last summer, the board approved this debt financing plan. The staff report also notes that the debt is locked in for the 10-year term, and while there is an option to repay it early, there is no financial benefit for the hospital district is doing so.

“We’re now into the annual debt repayment for the debt for those hospitals,” Douville said. “We’re obligated to pay the interest regardless. There’s really no advantage.”

RELATED STORY: Regional hospital district approves debt financing plan for North Island Hospital project

At this point, the hospital district is planning a strategic planning process, probably during the middle of 2019, through which it will review its mandate in light of the completion of the two major capital projects. This could mean there are still changes in the future regarding tax requisition levels.

“Obviously, every year that budget gets reviewed and brought forward,” Douville said.

Just Posted

Valley SPCA overwhelmed with 45 cats taken from local property

Many of the cats have never been around humans, or have never been touched or handled.

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Applications open for record bursary, scholarship funding at North Island College

Current and future North Island College students can now apply for scholarships… Continue reading

Second Stage Players present laughter and love in We Are Family

Get your tickets early to see the Evergreen Club’s Second Stage Players’… Continue reading

Verdict gives murder victims’ parents sense of closure

A guilty verdict delivered earlier this week was “like a weight lifted off the chest.”

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Comox Valley Hospice Society finds new Ocean Front home

Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) recently announced plans to construct a new… Continue reading

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Catch-up immunization aims to stamp out B.C. measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

Most Read