Hospital board votes to remove reserve cap

“The cap is actually a redundant step in the process because approval is given by the same body."~ Mike Martin

Capping rainy day funds at $10 million was considered superfluous.

So in the end, the hospital board did away with the limit all together, says Trail Mayor Mike Martin.

“The cap is actually a redundant step in the process because approval is given by the same body,” he explained. “It was a double step, given the fact it was the hospital board that put the cap in place then actually voted on what they are going to put in reserves,” Martin added. “Rather than having a cap on reserve funding as a mechanism of control, instead (the mechanism of control will be) how much the board elects to put in the reserve fund in any given year.”

The funds can be used for any project exceeding $2 million within the West Kootenay Regional Hospital District (WKRHD) boundary, but as part of its decision the board agreed to an addendum.

“Right now there’s no definitive plan in place…we asked for the IHA (Interior Health Authority) to provide a five-year facility and equipment capital forecast,” Martin explained. “Much the same as we, a municipality, are required to put together a five-year forecast. We’ve asked, and it’s been agreed that IHA will supply that.”

Another consensus was to reserve $1.72 million and not raise taxes this year (average homeowners pay about $32 annually).

“This goes back to the previous meeting and a very robust discussion on the whole matter of reserve versus borrowing,” he clarified. “From my perspective that was a very healthy debate and put a lot of interesting perspectives on the table.”

Reserves currently sit at $9.3 million and will exceed $11 million in 2016.

With one vote against removing the cap, Martin says the strong support shows a united interest in moving ahead with the $40 million Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) upgrades to ambulatory care, the emergency department, and pharmacy.