By Lisa Dumontier
The Municipality of Red Lake will be required to hand over $758,058 to the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) in 2012 to cover the expenses associated with the regional delivery of social services. The Municipal share will be utilized by the Board to provide land ambulance, Ontario Works, social housing and child care programs throughout the Red Lake area.
“The way our organization has to operate is that we have to view our budget on a regional basis first so with the KDSB budget for 2012 we experienced a 3.5 per cent increase on a regional basis and then the impact to each individual municipality is different based on their assessment conditions from 2011-2012,” explained Dan McNeil, KDSB Chief Administrative Officer. “On a provincial basis, that increase would probably be comparative but the dynamic from District Services Board to District Services Board is different and when looking at the province, the KDSB has the most geographically dispersed communities.”
Initiated in 1999 to oversee the delivery of social services previously funded 100 per cent directly by the Province of Ontario, the KDSB is a regional organization representing nine municipalities and eleven unincorporated areas across Northwestern Ontario with a population of approximately 60,000. Mandatory and highly regulated, the social services provided by the KDSB are jointly funded and delivered locally by the municipalities represented by the Services Board with varying financial support from the Province of Ontario.
Taking responsibility for 5.6769 per cent of the $15,033,937 KDSB 2012 budget, the Municipality of Red Lake’s share of social services includes $41,961 in child care programming costs, $295,407 in land ambulance programming costs, $132,517 to provide Ontario Works programming and $288,173 for social housing. A grand total of $758,058, to be paid in monthly increments, the 2012 levy is up slightly (7.05 per cent) from 2011 when the Municipal share amounted to $708,138 yet remains well below the distribution shares being covered by the collective unincorporated areas, Kenora, Dryden or Sioux Lookout districts.
“The Municipality of Red Lake was asking for a 3.5 per cent increase and ended up at 7 per cent which is basically do to the fact that the assessment continues to increase in Red Lake while the assessment in other communities—take Dryden for example—is actually dropping and with a regional board there is that correction in the percentage,” explained McNeil. “The Board, after a long and hard discussion about the process, came to the conclusion that at the end of the day, no matter how we carve the local share up, we are a regional entity providing legislated social services that are mandatory and this is probably as fair a way as any to divvy up the amount that has to be raised locally.”
For Ear Falls, community costs are far less significant. Based on a share of 1.0248 per cent, the Township of Ear Falls will be responsible for contributing $7,575 to support child care costs, $53,327 to cover the costs associated with land ambulance services, $23,922 to support Ontario Works programming and $52,021 for social housing. Up $4,091—or 3.08 per cent—from 2011, when the community handed over $132,754, the budgeted expense for Ear Falls in 2012 amounts to $136,845.
Key statistics provided by the KDSB in a presentation by CAO McNeil to council in February are currently available by visiting the Municipality of Red Lake’s website (www.red-lake.ca).