PCH funding worries Councils 0

Brian Choptain

Coun. Plato reading during the joint council meeting.

Coun. Plato reading during the joint council meeting.

How the new personal care home will be funded was discussed at the joint council meeting of Jan. 16.

There has been no meetings with the steering committee about the total cost of the project of the new PCH.

“Where does the money come from, and how do we get it back,” said RM of Lac du Bonnet Reeve Gus Wruck.

He outlined to the councils a possible amount each of the local governments would have to contribute to the project.

For the RM of Lac du Bonnet, it could be around $1.2 million.

The towns’ portion would be $440,000.

The Town of Pinawa’s share would be $600,000 and the RM of Whitemouth about $770,000 dollars. (At this time no formal communication or consultations has occurred between the different municipal governments about how the PCH should be funded by any of the local governments. The numbers cited were mention at the meeting so the town and RM can plan in their upcoming budget discussions how they could possibly pay for the new PCH, however, the cost of the project and who would be the partners has not been finalized according to the latest information available.)

“We could fund the PCH with tax money and the senior housing with community donations,” said Reeve Wruck.

Mayor Greg Short informed the council that another partner is the Sagkeeng First Nations reserve, while only one ward is included from the RM of Alexander.

“We have to be careful how we a lot these figures,” said Mayor Short.

Council members were concerned that they have not been presented with a hard cap as to the total cost of the project.

“We can’t let this go. There has be to a limit,” Short said.

“We can’t budget if we don’t know,” said Wruck.

Another issue raised is the problem of tax revenue sharing once the facility is built.

The town plans to set aside another $60,000 towards the PCH in their upcoming budget plans.

Councilor John Kyne asked about the Niverville PCH that is currently being built.

The Niverville 80-bed PCH is being built at a cost of $11.3 million. Unlike other PCH’s being built it is being totally funded by the local community.

Cost-savings are being achieved by local contractors such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters are lowering their rates for a savings of about $3 million, while the PCH is a not-for-profit group being run by Niverville Heritage Holdings.

The group acquired the license from an aging PCH facility in a neighbouring community.

Yearly operating costs will be funded on a ongoing basis by the province, some of it to serve the debt payment on the facility.

The Niverville facility is expected to be completed this spring.

It is projected that the Lac du Bonnet 80-bed PCH will cost about $32 million to be constructed.

New personal care spaces are planned for north Winnipeg, Niverville, Lac Du Bonnet and Morden-Winkler, to help meet an expected seven per cent increase in Manitobans’ demand for them over the next decade.

Amalgamation Project

A letter was sent out by Minister for Local Government Ron Lemieux about the amalgamation process that municipalities would have to complete.

Questions such as the new name of municipalities, how many members would serve on the new council, what would be its new structure. Would it be by wards or some other method to represent the voting public. What would be the taxation structure of the municipalities would also have to be answered.

The provincial government is making a new guide book to assist local governments and will be holding regional sessions in the future for people to understand the process.

A financial analysis of both municipalities would also need to be done before amalgamation could move forward.

While there would be the elimination of one of the chief administrative officer and less councilors, it was clear amalgamation is not about cost savings.

Councils want to set up a meeting with the Town of Gimli to discuss the challenges and successes of amalgamation.

“How did they make it benefit for all the people,” said Coun. Kyne.

Concerns about public involvement were also brought up, when council learned that amalgamation did not need the public to have a vote on the issue.

“If there is going to be a change, the public should be involved,” Coun. Marks said.

Councils plan a set of questions to be drawn up before setting a meeting with Gimli and discussing the issue.

Cost sharing new pumper purchase

Council debated the issue of what kind of new pumper truck they wanted, and how should the cost be shared between the two councils.

Coun. Kyne opened the issue discussing whether they exhausted all the alternatives to buying a new tanker truck or not.

The cost of a new tanker truck is estimated at about $160,000, depending on what needs the town and RM have for the fire department.

“What are the exact needs do we need,” said Marks.

“What do you want? What do you need?” said Mayor Short.

Reeve Wruck explained that there is a committee looking into this matter and they will make a recommendation to the councils.

After debating what constitutes a residence, discussion centred on what each council would pay. The RM proposed that they pay 75 per cent of the new truck based on the call basis of three-to-one. The town will discuss the proposal at their next meeting.

Council passed a motion of recommendation that the RM fund 75 per cent of the cost of the new truck and the town council 25 per cent.

brian.choptain@sunmedia.ca

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