County Council wrapped up their second budget meeting before breaking for the winter holidays. Council will have their final two budget meetings in the New Year.
OXFORD COUNTY - Oxford County council wrapped up their second budget meeting and broke for the holidays. They will return to the table in the New Year to hash out budget details for 2015. County Council heard two delegations for budget requests from Alexandra Hospital and Oxford Connections requesting consideration for 2015 budget deliberations
City of Woodstock Development Commissioner, Len Magyar on behalf of Oxford Connections requested $10,000 in funding to help attract physicians to the county. "Like most professions we're all getting to a point where the age demographic is impacting us...the group that is looking into it in more detail is concerned about whether or not there will be the physicians we need in the community going forward in the long-term," said County CAO Peter Crockett. Several County council members noted other independent community members trying to attract physicians to Oxford County.
Alexandra Hospital in Ingersoll requested nearly $1 million in funding to replace their over 30 year old boiler system. The 1.6 million dollar project has just over $600,000 in funding from the Ministry of Health but is looking to the County for the remaining balance. The boiler is used to heat the hospital. Council was unsure the boiler replacement would fall under the capital policy. Director of Corporate Services Lynn Buchner, "Well since council is responsible for passing the policy interpretation in the end will be up to them, but it clearly states that it does not cover furnishings and equipment and it has to be some type of capital improvement."
The 2015 Business Plan and Budget reported a 14.5% increase to the County library levy. CAO Peter Crockett said, "The budget that's come forward is to address those initiatives, quite frankly the new library board hasn't even been constituted to the point where they can begin to look at it, so we've developed a staff budget is there waiting for the library to look at..." New goals for the library board included building a library kitchen and creation of local history content.
As for the pressures facing County Council Crockett says there are a number of them for the upcoming year. "So there's pressure in terms of the demand for affordable housing within our community and on top of that the social housing that we have in terms of bricks and mortar that we've got from the federal government several years ago is reaching its life expectancy in terms of the contract requirements.