City of Swift Current
The City of Swift Current has announced it will contribute its share towards the $15.7 million needed for the Cypress Long-term Care Project.
Now they’re hoping other municipalities will do the same.
The city approved a payment of almost $10 million, due in December of 2016 for the new long-term care facility to be built in Swift Current, which they hope will inspire other local bodies into action.
“This is not a City of Swift Current project,” Councillor Ryan Plewis said during Monday’s council meeting. “It’s not an RM of Swift Current and City of Swift Current project. It’s a regional project and it’s a regional need that we all have to step up to the table and make sure that we’re doing our part for.”
“The challenge with a project like this is everybody always likes the concept, but not everybody likes paying for it, or the local political pressure that you may face by having to do it,” said Mayor Jerrod Schafer. “But, the reality of it is it’s an important project.”
Schafer did point out there has been plenty of co-operation from some rural municipalities. The RMs of Coulee, Excelsior and Webb were applauded for their wiliness to contribute to the project, and Schafer did note many discussions with local RMs were positive.
They don’t have the money now, but city officials are confident they will get it on time.
“We believe we will (have it) by the end of the month,” said Tim Marcus, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer and chief financial officer. “That’s certainly what we’re hoping for.”
Marcus said the funds will come, but he also says that if there is a shortfall, the city won’t pick up the tab. The city picked up the shortfall in the past when the Cypress Regional Hospital was built, and they’re in no mood to do so again.
“We’re leaving that between the province and the Cypress Health Authority as to what they would do if there’s a funding shortfall,” he said. “The city has stated that they’re committing what is their portion of that $15.7 million and we’re not committing to a shortfall, if one exists.
Funding for the project is delegated on a per capita basis. Swift Current will pay $633.64 per person for the project. About $11.8 million of the required $15.7 million has already been raised.
To help fund the new long-term care home, the city has agreed to continue the $100 hospital tax. In order to pay off the debts from building the hospital, the city created a $100 annual special tax, which was to end in 2016. Now, a similar tax will be created the next year.
“We would do it annually just like we’ve been doing for the hospital and we’re hoping that we would be able to eliminate that one in 10 years,” Marcus said.
He also added that he doesn’t expect the any additional funds from the surrounding municipalities to change that.
“(The cost) is all based on the projected amount for the long-term care facility, based on the work that the health authority did through the P3 partnership,” he explained. “I don’t know what would happen if the cost was a lot lower, but I do know that there will be no requirement for extra funds if the cost is higher.”