Hastings County passed its 2018 budget Thursday with officials expressing concerns about how two new provincial government bills are causing extra costs.
New legislation, Bill 148, which allows two paid emergency leave days for employees and another one on post traumatic stress disorder affect the costs related to long term care and paramedic services.
Warden Rodney Cooney says it’s not the same as office staff on leave, “these people have to be replaced on the job at extra local cost and that cost has been increasing.”
The budget includes additional costs of $277,350 because of the paid emergency leave. “Bill 148 puts a huge pressure on any of our 24/7 services, so you take $150,000 for ambulance and another $150,000 for long-term care and that’s another $300,000 we have to account for,” he said.
The tax levy budget is $14 million, representing a tax increase of $4.85 for the typical residential taxpayer.
The total budget is $143.8 million, which includes shared services paid by Belleville and Quinte West, and management of the provincial funding of many services.
For the shared services, Belleville pays $12.6 million or 42%, Hastings county pays $8.6 million or 29%, and Quinte West pays $8.5 million or 28.5%. These include Community and Human Services and Paramedic Services.
The budget includes a long list of donations to various funds including the Kingston Hospital Foundation and the North Hastings Hospital Development Fund and the Bancroft airport.
There is also money in the reserve for a doctor recruitment candidate. The county has recruited 17 candidates so far.