The city’s paramedics have adjusted their department’s municipal budget to come in at a three per cent ceiling mandated by city council.
Cornwall’s emergency medical services manager Myles Cassidy told the city’s budget steering committee his department has re-examined the amount of money it is forecast to receive from the province this year, and the belief now is that more money will flow into municipal coffers.
When city budget deliberations began, city council wanted all departments to cap spending at a three per cent increase for 2013. EMS had come in with a 3.89 per cent hike.
But the additional $18,000 the department is now forecasting it will receive will drop its increase to three per cent.
Cassidy said the Ministry of Health is expected to confirm its annual allotment for paramedic services in the next couple of months.
“We’ll update when that amount is confirmed from the ministry,” he added.
The EMS budget is essentially the same as 2012, with regard to services, and the bulk of the spending increases are related to salaries and benefits, which are governed by collective agreements.
The cost of providing EMS services locally is shared by the city and United Counties, with the rural community covering 58 per cent of the budget.
Three vehicles are being replaced this year by the EMS department, as required by policy. Also, the entire fleet of medical vehicles are being retrofitted with new GPS equipment. The current GPS service is nine years old.