SD&G long term care homes funding plan approved

SD&G CFO Rebecca Russell listens to county councillors during a meeting on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Council has agreed to a five year plan to finance the rebuilds for Maxville and Dundas Manors. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

SD&G – County council agreed Monday to fund its $6.5 million portion of the rebuild of two long term care homes.

Councillors agreed with a more conservative five year funding period of the four options available for the multi-million dollar construction of the aging Maxville Manor and Dundas Manor homes.

Maxville Manor’s $24 million redevelopment includes an expansion to 160 beds. Dundas Manor’s 98-bed facility will cost $31 million to rebuild on a new plot of land near the Winchester District Memorial Hospital.

The financing option will keep tax increases down to 2.75 per cent this year (an extra $34.35) and then 1.98 per cent for 2021 to 2024 at (an extra $24.80). The future years don’t include any growth or future increase in home values.

County CFO Rebecca Russell told council they are expecting a budget surplus for 2019 and that could be allocated to a reserve for future long term care home funding.

Coun. Allan Armstrong (North Dundas) liked the plan adding that it could “get paid sooner” if needed. “I don’t like the idea of having money in a savings account when we have obligations with the chequing account,” he said.

Coun. Lyle Warden (South Glengarry) added that it was a “balanced approach.”

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Warden Frank Prevost says it’s a great plan.

“I think there’s opportunities that we don’t need to wait for the five years if there’s surpluses that come on an annual basis, then we can put them towards the debt. Five years is not a long time. It seems like it’s a long time away but it will be here faster than we know it. I think it affords us a great option for moving forward with the manors,” Prevost said.

Bill Smirle, chairman of the Dundas Manor Board of Directors, was in the audience to hear council hash out the funding plan. Smirle said that as long as the commitment for the money is there, they can proceed with their application to the Ontario Ministry of Health.

The budget still needs to be formally passed by a bylaw and funding agreements between the county and the manors need to be approved, likely in the next month or two.

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