Property taxpayers asked to help fund CT scanner operation

·2 min read

The new CT scanner at West Nipissing General Hospital goes into service this month and council is being asked to dip into property tax revenues to offset operational costs.

Correspondence from the WNGH Foundation on the agenda for tonight’s council meeting includes a request for up to $7.50 a household per year for 10 years.

Going by the 2016 Census Profile for the municipality, there are 6,281 “private dwellings occupied by usual residents.” If you multiply that by $7.50, that adds up to about $47,000 a year. There are also another 700 private dwellings but it’s unclear if commercial and industrial taxpayers are being asked to chip in as well. Also worth noting, the official request by the foundation to make a presentation to council indicates they are seeking $6.50 per household.

The presentation breaks down the approximate $290,000 annual operating cost for the $1.84-million CT scanner. The service contract is $140,000 annually, salaries and benefits are $110,000, and supplies at $43,000.

It explains that about 1,500 West Nipissing residents go to the North Bay Regional Health Centre for CT scans every year with patient delays in returning to WNGH range from a few hours to under 12 hours.

The 2020 statement of operations for the hospital notes $27M in revenues and a possible surplus of $102,333, giving it a balanced budget streak stretching 11 years. The surpluses over the past decade financed the CT scanner purchase without the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care financial support.

Among the major donors for the scanner – which was sought for seven years – was the Nipissing Central Region Caisse Alliance, which gave $100,000 in late September.

There are 98 beds in total: 31 for acute care, 19 for complex continuing care, and 48 for interim long-term care. There is also one hospice suite and one palliative care bed that’s unfunded.

Employees number more than 275 with more than 75 credentialed physicians.

Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca