Regional hospital taxes continue to rise to pay for new hospitals

The Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) has adopted a 2012 budget of $19.9 million.

The Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) has adopted a 2012 budget of $19.9 million.The budget will see an estimated tax rate of $76.25 per $100,000 of assessed property value, which is an increase of $4.20 per $100,000 from last year.This increase reflects the board’s strategy to gradually increase the tax rate over the short term to minimize future increases that will be required for long term debt costs for the North Island hospitals project. “The CSRHD’s share of the projected capital cost of two new hospital facilities — known as the North Island hospitals project — based on a cost estimate of approximately $600 million, is approximately $240 million,” said Claire Moglove, CSRHD chair. “A gradual tax rate increase from 70 to 84 cents per $1,000 of taxable value was first initiated in 2010 in order to be proactive and financially plan for the two new hospitals.”As of Dec. 31, 2013 the major capital project reserve balance will be approximately $71.7 million. This ‘down payment’ could substantially reduce our borrowing requirements and debt payments, and realize an estimated $100 million savings overall in total project debt costs and hence tax impacts for local property owners.” In addition to planning for the new hospitals, the CSRHD has also allocated $1.85 million towards new capital projects and equipment in the existing hospitals in the Comox Valley and Campbell River, and in other facilities supported by the regional hospital district.In addition, approximately $5 million is being carried forward for previous years’ projects not yet completed, such as the mobile MRI project for the Campbell River & District and St. Joseph’s General hospitals. A complete list of funding allocations is attached. The CSRHD provides capital funding, cost shared with the provincial government on a 60/40 basis, with the hospital district portion being 40 per cent.The facilities that the CSRHD funds are: Campbell River and District General Hospital, St. Joseph’s General Hospital, Cumberland Regional Hospital Laundry Society, Gold River Health Clinic, Sayward Primary Health Centre and the health centres on Cortes, and in Kyuquot, Tahsis and Zeballos.— Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District