Sundridge councilor troubled by Eastholme care home budget increase

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Eastholme Home for the Aged in Powassan budgeted 2022 and once again Sundridge Coun. Steve Hicks wonders how much money the care home plans to spend this year.

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“I just don’t see how this is a sustainable path,” Hicks said when the council received Eastholme’s budget.

“The costs increase every year. When does it become too much money? »

Hicks said it’s easy to say that the elderly are important and need to be cared for, and for this reason Almaguin Highlands and Parry Sound District Councils need to support the budget.

“But you also have to ask tough questions because I don’t see how this will be sustainable in five or 10 years,” Hicks said.

Eastholme established a budget of $12,961,400 with a municipal levy set at $1,480,900, shared by the 14 member municipalities.

In establishing this year’s levy, the Eastholme Board said it was necessary to increase the local municipal share by 5% ($70,480) due to inflation and increases caused by COVID-19.

Eastholme says his insurance has jumped 67% and food costs have gone up 9%.

In a letter to city councils explaining the increase, Eastholme says the facility remains proactive in protecting its residents and staff from COVID-19.

And as the pandemic continues, Eastholme says the Ministry of Long-Term Care requires it to provide COVID-related services beyond normal operations.

These include assigning an employee to screen visitors to the home at a single point of entry and to give everyone entering the building a clean surgical mask.

Eastholme is also performing enhanced cleaning of all commonly touched surfaces and testing all general visitors and essential caregivers for COVID-19 when they enter the building.

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Eastholme says that in preparing this year’s budget, the Ministry of Long-Term Care committed an additional $416,400 in COVID-related funds to cover costs from the start of the year to the end of March.

Since making the announcement for the first time, Eastholme says the ministry has not committed additional funds that would help the care home with the costs of the pandemic beyond the end of March this year. .

The Municipality of Magnetawan will assume the largest local share at $243,306, which represents just over 16% of the municipal royalty.

The municipality of Callander is next, representing 13% of the total royalty, which amounts to $194,055.

The Township of Perry is the third and final of 14 member municipalities to face a double-digit percentage levy.

Perry will pay $163,730, just over 11% local tax.

The Township of Nipissing will cover $133,352 or 9% of the royalty, while the Township of Armor and the Town of Kearney will pay $129,835 and $129,622 respectively.

The Municipality of Powassan, home to Eastholme, will cover $118,604 as its share, followed by the Township of Strong which will pay Eastholme $102,831.

The six remaining member municipalities will pay Eastholme less than $100,000 each, led by the Township of Machar which will cover $89,517 of the levy, followed by the Township of Ryerson which will pay $63,914.

Sundridge is 11th on the list paying $37,302 at Eastholme 2022 budget with Burk’s Falls not too far behind at $29,842.

Rounding out the list of contributors are South River, which is contributing $24,764 and the small community of Joly Township, which is contributing $20,226 as its share.

Last year, when Hicks criticized Eastholme’s 2021 budget as it approached $13 million, he wondered how long it would take to reach $15 or $16 million and wondered how where the local share of funding would come from at that time.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works at the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.