Health Unit board approves lean 2020 budget
TECUMSEH, Ont. -- The board of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will have to do more with less.
The board on Monday approved the 2020 budget, a $22.8 million budget that will include job losses.
The budget total is about $922,000 less than the 2019 budget, or 3.8 per cent.
Chair Gary McNamara, the mayor of Tecumseh, says the budget is as lean as it can get.
"We can't cut anymore," says McNamara. "The budget is so lean right now there is absolutely zero fat."
The funding for the budget is broken down by $15.9 million in provincial funding, and $700,000 from a one-time provincial mitigation fund.
Municipalities across Windsor-Essex will be on the hook for $6.3 million.
But McNamara tells CTV News the Ontario Seniors Dental Care program will receive 100 per cent funding from the province.
"They've downloaded more of the cost to us locally. Even though we have cut the budget and reduced the budget, our expense is going up so that's what's frustrating in all of this," says Windsor ward 3 councillor Rino Bortolin. "But I think administration did a great job of actually cutting and reducing the costs."
But Windsor ward 8 councillor Gary Kaschak voted against the budget.
"Ii thought some of the program amounts were a little bit high," says Kaschak. "I thought we could have maybe sharpened the pencil on a few things that we could have got the numbers down a bit more and kept the rate of increase down and maybe saved a few jobs along the way as well."
The equivalent of 9.5 positions will be lost as part of the 2020 budget.
McNamara admits there could be more job losses, as the provincial government still must approve the budget.
Earlier this year, the Ontario government announced it would reduce its share of the health unit budget from 75 per cent to 70 per cent.
The provincial government also plans to amalgamate the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit with the Chatham-Kent, Southwestern, Lambton and Middlesex-London health units.
The proposed new service area spans 14,500 square kilometres and will be responsible for meeting the needs of nearly 1.3-million residents.