The Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) has adopted a 2014 budget of $82.6 million.
The budget includes an estimated tax rate of $83.78 per $100,000 of assessed property value, an increase of $3.44 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 2009 in order to be proactive and to financially plan for the two new hospitals.
“At the beginning of 2014, the reserve balance is $80.3 million, and once expenditures on the north island hospitals project have been made this year, the reserve balance will be approximately $17 million, which could substantially reduce our borrowing requirements and debt payments.”
In addition to planning for the new hospitals, the CSRHD has also allocated $581,000 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 $2.6 million is being carried forward for previous years’ projects not yet completed.
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 funded by the CSRHD are: St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox, Cumberland Regional Hospital Laundry Society, Campbell River & District General Hospital, 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