Province’s failure to meet health grant expectations will cost county taxpayers

County resi­dents will have to pick up the slack after provincial fund­ing for Wellington-Duff­erin-Guelph Public Health fell short of expectations this year.

The request to county council’s finance committee came just as local health units were facing a possible H1N1 flu pandemic. To date, thou­sands of people have received flu shots from the public health unit.

And this area’s public health unit is apparently better off than others in Onta­rio.

Stefan Loker, the finance manager for the local public health unit, said in a letter to county Treasurer Craig Dyer, “Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph H­ealth Unit received an in­crease of 4.45%. This was one of the higher increases received in the province.”

But, he noted, “During the 2009 budget deliberations, the board of the WDGHU approv­ed a budget that was based on the assumption of a 5.0% in­crease in provincial funding for 2009. Board and municipal part­ners were previously in­form­ed of different scenarios of provincial funding and the impact it would have on re­quired funding from the muni­cipalities.

The expected funding was $1,435,949 and the actual amount from the province was $1,417,212, leaving the $18,737 shortfall.

Council approved the com­mittee report and will provide the money.