Health taxation flatlines in the West Kootenay-Boundary
A little bit of good news may be no news at all: one tax won’t be increasing this year for West Kootenay-Boundary residents.
The amount charged to regional residents for the coming tax year won’t be rising — compared to 2016 — but there will still be an almost $1 million contribution to the reserve fund.
The West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District (WKBRHD) board recently passed its 2017 budget — set at $7,876,454 — and confirmed there will not be an increased burden to the region’s taxpayers with the new fiscal document.
Even so, the board will be making a $979,555 contribution to its reserve fund in order to look ahead at replacement of the region’s aging health-care infrastructure, said WKBRHD board chair Aimee Watson.
“With over $100 million needed on an annual basis to simply maintain infrastructure on regional health facilities (not operations), and knowing the state of the facilities, we anticipate some big capital improvements and we will be prepared to support them,” she said in a statement.
The board also directed 40 per cent of the budget to capital, equipment and information management information technology projects.
Only two of the projects put forth by the Interior Health Authority for the fiscal year did not make the cut for funding — a resident bus for Trail’s Columbia View Lodge and a vacation planning system for registered nurses across the region.
Some directors felt the planning system was too operational in nature for the board to fund, said Watson.
“The mandate of the WKBRHD is to fund capital projects and equipment,” she said.
Nelson received funding for the replacement of condensing units at Jubilee Manor ($26,000).
Grand Forks’ Boundary Hospital will have two projects funded, including washroom renovations and wheelchair access ($38,000) and the hospital’s medical air systems ($32,000).
The region’s main hospital — the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail — will see five projects funded this year at over $1.25 million. The most expensive will be a SPECT/CT at $649,200, with a steam and condensate line replacement at $209,200.
Trail also receives funds for the Vocera expansion at Columbia View Lodge ($39,600).
An integrated chemical analyzer ($128,800), urology imaging ($249,200) and fire separation penetrations ($20,800) round out the projects at KBRH.
The Slocan Community Health Centre will have its generator replacement project funded this year to the tune of $344,400.