The Warden of Hastings County says he’s “not here to throw stones” but Belleville must pay its share of the joint Long Term Care budget at the 2018 level.
At county council’s meeting on Thursday, there was a lengthy discussion on Belleville’s decision not to support the budget increases for Hastings Manor and Centennial Manor which are at 17% and 31%.
The increase for all shared services, including Emergency Services and Community and Human Services together, was 3.5%.
It had been pointed out earlier, that without Belleville meeting this year’s budget increase, 6.25 full-time jobs at Hastings Manor and 9.1 full-time jobs at Centennial Manor would be cut.
Officials said Long Term Care budget hikes stemmed from new provincial legislation, Bill 148, regarding increased employee requirements at Long Term Care facilities and benefits that include days off for health issues.
Warden Rodney Cooney.
Cooney also noted the city has a contract with the county for the services and there’s the possibility it could go to arbitration if not settled..
Cooney said, “Last year we asked for a meeting three times and it never happened. If Belleville has a better solution bring it to us.”
Belleville Councillor Kelly McCaw, a member of the shared services committees, tells Quinte News it’s going to have to come back to city council.
County CAO Jim Pine said there is “no undue spending going on, just paying down debts.” He said “The idea the county is spendthrift, throwing money around, kind of rankles.”
He read out the letter from the city outlining city council decisions along with the notice about the budget payment at 2017 level. It called for an audit of social service housing outdoor lighting, a comparison of staff cost at municipal LTC facilities compared to municipal, the feasibility of withdrawing from Centennial Manor, and the feasibility of the city operating paramedic services.
Pine said, “That’s a lot of work for a lot of nothing.”