It turns out there is about $300 million not accounted for in the city’s new tax levy to pay for the mega-hospital. Windsor taxpayers will also suffer the added indignity of paying for all the services the new medical centre will need, such as roads, sewers, and water.
Fortunately, not everyone is overlooking this.
John Smith, a commenter on a column in the Windsor Star on April 27, hits the nail on the head quite smartly when he wrote, “If people outside the city really want to contribute to the new location then I suggest that when it’s time to pay for the $300 million or more in infrastructure costs to develop that bean field that they also step up to the plate and pay.”
So far, there has been no movement by county politicians to pay, as Smith calls it, their “fair share” for the regional hospital.
Smith also adds a valid point about Windsor taxpayers having no real say or even a council discussion about the location. It has been railroaded through causing Smith to charge that the councillors and mayor have “failed us.”
He is right.
Only Ward 4 councillor Chris Holt seems cognizant that the removal of the city’s hospitals from the most densely populated area of the region will be damaging to the core of a once vibrant city. He voted against the irony of imposing a tax on rate payers for a project that will cost taxpayers plenty.
This includes increasing the city’s already high industrial taxes that curiously seem to be dissuading investors from building factories in the city. Without new plants to compensate for the many lost ones, Windsor is seeing its industrial tax base erode. As this continues, the weight of running the city becomes a greater burden on those remaining.
“Apparently,” adds Smith, “our Mayor and Councilors in Windsor have washed their hands in having any input other than financing our portion through a new levy.”
County politicians should be well aware of the deal they are getting.
In a November 11 post on hospital coverage in the local paper, defeated Ward 1 council aspirant Daniel Ableser called on the county to split the bill. Ableser reasoned the county, “… needs to contribute their fair share to the infrastructure costs.”
To him, the location in the farmer’s bean field was, “… selected because it is ideal to the entire county at the cost of being the most ideal location for Windsor.”
If Windsor is, as Ableser suggests, paying a cost, the county should at least acknowledge what has happened. But Ableser doesn’t stop there.
He argues the new hospital will hollow out the core and that servicing the site is, “… effectively a cost for Windsor to, in the first instance, benefit the county, by putting the hospital closer to them.”
Ableser recommends county residents pay, “… 50% of the up-front cost for the road, sewer and infrastructure improvements.”
Recognizing Windsor might benefit from the development charges paid by anyone who later develops land near the hospital, Ableser would like to see Windsor share some of that money with the county based on an, “… apportionment of their contribution.”
That could be fair but, so far, the county hasn’t been seen supporting the idea. Why not?
Robert Tuomi can be heard at noon every Thursday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. It is also streamed online at CJAM.