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“Good news” budget for hospital districtPosted: February 7, 2012

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) board unanimously adopted its annual budget for 2012 Feb. 3, and it includes some good news for taxpayers.

The total budget is $4,785,395, which includes new approvals for $817,700 in capital expenditures.

Board chair John Kettle

“This budget represents a roughly 23% reduction over last year, which is good news for the citizens of the region,” says KERHD board chair and Regional District of Central Kootenay Electoral Area B director and chair, John Kettle.  “This board has always said that we will tax only for what we need, and this budget reflects that commitment.”

The main reason for the reduction is that Hospital District has now paid off the largest portion of debt it owed on the upgrade project at East Kootenay Regional Hospital, which has significantly reduced repayment requirements in the budget, explained KERHD financial officer Shawn Tomlin.

“It’s a little bit smaller amount than we have traditionally seen,” he said.

Some of the capital projects for the coming year include an obstetrics room renovation at the Elk Valley Hospital in Fernie, replacement of an air handling unit in the Golden Hospital and the expansion of the Ambulatory Care Unit at the Cranbrook Wellness Centre. Three projects will be undertaken at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital, including: the installation of a covered walkway for the stairs and sidewalk leading to the Hospital entrance, the installation of a new Pyxis Medstation, and the purchase of a cardiac ultrasound machine.

The 2012 budget also includes a $1 million contribution to the capital reserve fund in the hopes that an expansion will be approved for the Intensive Care Unit at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.

The KERHD budget reflects an approximately $1 million reduction. This year’s Hospital District tax rate will work out to about $18 per $100,000 of assessed value on a residential property.

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District covers a large area including the Regional District of East Kootenay, the towns of Creston and Golden as well as their surrounding rural communities.

The function of the Hospital District is to provide up to 40% of the funding for equipment and construction projects at health care facilities within the Hospital District, with the remaining cost being covered by Interior Health.

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