The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) has adopted this year’s annual budget, which will include a two per cent increase in taxation.
The budget is set at $6.58 million and includes new approvals for $2.4 million in capital spending and $3.2 million for unfinished capital projects from last year.
A pharmacy renovation at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital is set to be the largest capital expense this year at $580,000.
“The budget as adopted shows a two per cent increase in taxation over last year, which represents a $1 increase on the average residential tax bill,” said Dean McKerracher, the KERHD board chair. “This is the first time in 11 years that we have had a tax increase and reflects the increase in capital requests from Interior Health for projects that will lead directly to improved patient services for our residents.”
The Hospital District tax rate will work out to about $42 on the average residential property assessed at $285,000.
The budget also includes a number of capital projects for facilities across the region.
For example, renovations are planned for the Ambulatory Care Department at Elk Valley Hospital, while other projects include home support ventilation at the Creston Valley Hospital, fire suppression in the entrance at Golden & District Hospital, new anesthetic units for the Elk Valley and Creston Valley Hospitals, and a Digital General Radiographic System for the Creston Valley Hospital.
The 2019 budget also includes $377,200 in global grants for projects under $100,000, a portion of which goes to Interior Health operated residential care homes.
The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District covers a large area including the RDEK, the Towns of Creston and Golden as well as their surrounding rural communities. It provides up to 40 per cent 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.