City Approves 1% Hospital Levy

Residents attend a special meeting of Windsor City Council to hear discussions on the levy for the new acute care hospital, April 25, 2016. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Windsor residents will see a 1% tax levy added to their property taxes this year after Windsor City Council voted in favour of funding for the new hospital.

The motion passed with a 9-1 vote also includes the utilization of unallocated revenue from the Samsung lease and earmarks future capital budget funding to make up the city’s $108-million committment to the hospital project.

“I think this motion tonight actually gives us skin in the game, the county now has skin in the game. This whole region has skin in the game that sends the ball back to the other side of the tennis court and now it’s the provinces responsibility,” says Mayor Drew Dilkens.

There were 34 delegations to council many of whom spoke against the project and its funding because of concerns surrounding accessibility, urban sprawl and additional infrastructure dollars needed for the project.

City administration says the new hospital on County Rd. 42 and the 9th Concession fits in the official plans for the area because they are projecting growth over the next 10-20 years.

But Councillor Chris Holt, who voted against the project, believes that growth will come at the expense of they city’s core.

“I have a good feeling that those residents will be coming from the core because they’ll have great roads, they’ll have a great hospital, there won’t be much left of the core to stick around for,” says Holt.

In addition to the acute care facility on County Rd. 42 the hospital plan includes an urgent care centre at the former Grace Hospital site and the renovation of the Windsor Regional Hospital-Ouellette Campus into a mental health facility.

The approved levy will be in place until 2028 and will mean an additional $30 for the average home owner.