2012 Town of Milton Budget Documents are HERE!

It’s that time of year again Milton.  No, not the long lines at the shopping malls, the honing of Christmas lists of your kids and the never ending list of holiday parties to attend.  Its budget time at the Town of Milton.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is a fun time for your local councillor as well.  Over the last year I have talked with you on what your budget priorities are.  This past summer myself along with a number of other councillors sat down with you to discuss the issues you found to be important.  I have received close to 100 emails over the course of the year of you letting me know what you would like to see.

All of the comments received were sent to staff and what you will see here is a list of the budget documents.  This budget will come before council on December 12 and 13th for review/debate/approval.  Members of the public are more than welcome, and encouraged to take part in this process as well.  If you’d like to know how you can be a part of this important process, please email me mike@mikecluett.ca for more details.

Over the course of the next week or so as I dive into these documents, drink lots of coffee and find more dark circles under my eyes due to lack of sleep, I will be posting more details, my thoughts and attempt to get as many of your comments ready for the budget committee meeting on the 12th.  If you want a hard copy of the budget, they can be purchased at Milton Town Hall as well.  Email me for details.

A quick overview of the budget will find that it recommends at 4.18% increase in the tax rate.  That doesn’t mean your taxes will go up by that amount, its the rate of increase in budget spending.  In the past I have stated I wouldn’t support a budget with an increase over the rate of inflation and I look to keep that same commitment here.  That rate doesn’t include education, the Region of Halton, the Library levy or DBIA. 

I’ll post more details on what can be done to reduce the impact of the tax increase in the coming days.  Again, if you have any questions at all, please email or call me anytime.  With over 400 pages in the budget document, odds are I will be up late reading it.

Here are the links online from www.milton.ca for the 2012 Budget Documents

Operating and Capital Budgets

The Town’s annual budget is developed by staff in consideration of the guidelines approved by Council in July and input received from the public. Council deliberates and approves the budget in December of each year ensuring an approved budget is in place for the start of the new year.

2012 Proposed Budget Documents

Milton Champion Coverage of Hospital Expansion Announcement

I’m still giddy (yes I said giddy) with excitement everytime I read something about the expansion at Milton District Hospital.  Here is the article from today’s Milton Canadian Champion (by Christina Commisso) with coverage of the historic announcement.

Hospital expansion approved

Completion expected in late 2015 or early 2016

Hugs, high-fives and tears were aplenty Thursday morning, as Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews announced Milton’s hospital has been given the long-awaited green light for a massive expansion.

Milton District Hospital (MDH) will triple in size following a 320,000 square-foot addition that should be completed by late 2015 or early 2016.

“The support is unanimous. We have people from all political parties who are here today saying yes, this is the right decision. I’m pleased that all of us together have gotten where we are today,” said Matthews, as the room erupted in applause.

Pointing to an outpouring of community support that has  surrounded the MDH expansion, the Liberal MPP said hospitals are the heart and soul of a community, “and no where is that more true than right here in Milton. You should change the town’s motto to ‘where we don’t take no for an answer.’”

Matthews re-iterated that the expansion is poised to move full-steam ahead. “I want to be very clear this money has been allocated. It is in our fiscal plan. It has gone through our treasury board. All of the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed. This money is part of our infrastructure plan.”

The expansion will include a new emergency department to accommodate 45,500 visits a year. Currently the department can handle 30,000 visits. The addition of an MRI machine and chemotherapy services will more than triple the size of the hospital’s diagnostic imaging department. A new maternal child-care ward will include 17 post-partum beds, up from the current eight, and the intensive care unit will see 10 beds, up from six.

Also in the plans are two new medical surgical in-patient units with capacity for 72 patients and expanded operating suites, and a post-anesthetic care unit that will accommodate 8,400 surgeries a year — a 70 per cent increase over the department’s current capacity.

Eighty per cent of the rooms will be single patient to enhance infection control.

Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) CEO John Oliver said construction should be complete by 2015/16, about a year after the new Oakville hospital is planned for completion.

“Both hospitals will be under construction at the same time and one will open right after the other. We’re going to make up for lost time in Milton,” said Oliver to an elated crowd.

He said detailed planning with hospital staff will begin immediately, along with discussions with the hospital foundation and the Town regarding the local share of the construction costs plus the entire cost of equipping and furnishing the hospital.

Asked about the cost of the expansion, Oliver said for the time being a number won’t be released to the public. “We learned from the Oakville project when you put a number out, it changes…we’ll talk about the kinds of services and the number of beds, but we won’t release a number to the public.”

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz said at this point in time he has no idea what kind of money the Town will be on the hook for in terms of the local share.

“This was only the start and now some of the grunt work needs to be done and finances is going to be a big part of that,” he said. “I have a sneaking suspicion the community is going to buy into this and fundraising is going to have to be a definite part of it.”

The recently-announced Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital expansion, pegged at $312 million, is looking for $120 million from the Burlington community. The Town of Oakville has committed up to $130 million toward the construction of the new Dundas Street and Third Line hospital, and the Oakville Hospital Foundation is raising $60 million for the community share.

Asked if the hospital’s local share will be part of the Town’s 2012 budget — which is already well underway — Milton’s CAO Mario Belvedere said, “We will do what needs to be done to support this program and we can work on amending whatever needs to be done.”

He said he plans to meet with Oliver within the next few weeks to discuss numbers, adding that the scope and speed of the expansion is “well beyond our imagination.”

Halton’s Conservative MPP Ted Chudleigh, who has advocated for a Milton hospital expansion for a number of years, joked, “It’s such a good day, I don’t think I can say anything bad about the Liberals.

“This project is going from functional planning to completion in one step, that’s unprecedented in Ontario.”

Asked how the expansion — which several Milton residents and councillors dubbed the number one election issue — changes the dynamics of the October 6 provincial election, Chudleigh said, “It becomes less of an issue. It comes off the table and now it’s a matter of making it happen.”

Local provincial Liberal candidate Indira Naidoo-Harris said Thursday was a day for celebration.

“It’s a wonderful day for Halton and Milton. I am thrilled the minister has been listening to our community.”

Several members of the Friends of Milton Hospital and Grow Milton Hospital groups were on hand for the announcement and said the days of gathering about 40,000 signatures (during two community campaigns) in support of an expansion — in rain or shine — has finally paid off.

“We needed care at all levels,” said Friends of Milton Hospital co-chair and former nurse Cari Kovachik-MacNeil. “Milton’s emergency has always been known for how good it was, but then where do the patients go from here when the hospital is in gridlock. Now they can stay here, in their own hometown.”

Details on Milton Hospital Expansion

Less than 24 hours later, the grins on the faces of those who had worked so hard over the last few years have not gone anywhere.  I know that I have not lost the feeling of excitement at yesterdays announcement at Milton District Hospital by Health Minister Deb Matthews of the approval of the expansion of MDH.

You dont see standing ovations and tears at government announcements but this was different.  The doctors and nurses and staff and volunteers at MDH have waited for this for a very long time.  Tears of joy streamed from many faces after Minister Matthews said that we got the green light.  She credited our persistence in this and asked that we change our motto to “Never Take No For An Answer”.  The hard work begins at many levels.  From John Oliver and Allan Halls from Halton Healthcare Services, to the LHIN all the way down to our Town Council, decisions have to be made and believe me, we are working on it as we speak.  Town Staff are going to be working many long hours coming up with options for the funding of our local portion.  I can assure you that I want to hear from you, the residents of Milton on YOUR ideas as well.  This hospital is for our community and we need to hear from you.

I have received dozens of emails from people wondering about the details of the announcement and MDHF through their website have released details of the announcement, which you will find below.

Thank you to everyone in Milton who made this possible.  It was a long time coming and its finally here.  Green light is ON and we will now begin the process to move forward and get the job done.

http://www.mdhf.ca/images/stories/PDF/Press_Releases/Announcement_Highlights_FINAL.pdf

MILTON DISTRICT HOSPITAL EXPANSION

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

The expansion at the hospital will include 320,000 sq.ft. of new construction and 3,700 sq.ft. of renovations to existing space. At a current size of approximately 125,000 sq.ft., this expansion will more than double the size of the hospital.

Clinical departments in the new space will include:

  • Emergency
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Maternal Childcare
  • Medical/Surgical Inpatient Units
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Surgical Department

Clinical Support departments in the new space will include:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medical Device Reprocessing
  • Materials Management
  • Information Systems
  • Clinical Information Systems
  • Facilities Maintenance

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Emergency Department

Entirely new space will be sized to accommodate 45,500 visits per year. The current department has capacity to handle approximately 30,000 visits. The new space will more than triple the size of the current department.

Diagnostic Imaging

The plan includes the addition of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine and Nuclear Medicine Services. The expansion will more than triple the size of the hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Department.

Maternal Childcare

The new department will have increased capacity from eight to 17 post‐partum beds and associated birthing facilities. The new space will include a dedicated C‐section suite. Today, C‐sections are performed in the hospital’s Surgical Department.

Medical/Surgical Inpatient Units

New space will accommodate two, 36‐bed units with capacity for 72 patients. Eighty percent single patient rooms will enhance infection prevention and control and provide increased patient privacy and comfort. The expanded units will more than double capacity in the department.

Intensive Care Unit

The ICU will see an increase in capacity from six beds to 10 beds. The new, appropriately sized, unit will consist of modern facilities to support contemporary practices.

Surgical Department

Expanded operating suites and a Post‐Aneasthetic Care Unit will accommodate 8,400 surgical procedures annually. This represents an increase of 70% over the department’s current capacity.

CURRENT HOSPITAL

Existing facilities, including space made available from relocating services into the new construction, will be utilized to accommodate the needs of a number of clinical and clinical support departments including:

  • Complex Continuing Care
  • Medical Daycare and Cancer Clinic
  • Outpatient Mental Health Services
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Services
  • Laboratory
  • Cardio‐Respiratory Services
  • Food Services
  • Environmental Services
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Administration, Volunteer Services, Foundation

BENEFITS TO OUR COMMUNITY

  • State‐of‐the‐art hospital facilities developed in the new space providing additional capacity to meet the needs of our rapidly growing community,
  • New and enhanced programs and services including additional diagnostic capabilities and new ambulatory services such as chemotherapy treatment and mental health services,
  • Contemporary design to support enhanced infection prevention and control to reduce the spread of infection,
  • A healing environment focused on patient‐centred care including improved amenities to support family involvement,
  • Clearly marked traffic routes will separate emergency vehicles, hospital staff, public transit and the general public,
  • Simple internal and external way‐finding will allow for accessible and convenient movement,
  • Facilities built to current and anticipated design standards.    

Milton Hospital Expansion Approved!

Its been a busy day for a number of reasons. I was at the announcement today along with several of our town councillors, MPP Ted Chudleigh, Liberal candidates Indiria Naidoo Harris, Friends of Milton Hospital, doctors and nurses, and staff and volunteers. Quite emotional. I had to leave because we had a medical emergency with our cat Chester. He was in a fight on the weekend and developed a massive infection which burst today and my son called in a panic. (Chesters had his surgery and is doing ok, we’ll be picking him up soon)

I put together a few thoughts, and once things settle down at home, I’ll post more…and probably add more people to thank so I dont leave anyone out.

EDIT:  As Colin Best reminded me on the Hawthorne Villager I forgot someone important.  Regional Chair Gary Carr has also played a very strong role in getting meetings scheduled with cabinet ministers during the recent AMO Conference in London and also bringing up Milton’s needs at every possible opportunity.  Thank you Gary!!!

Here is the video from today courtesy of Brian Best (thanks for the vid…it was a historic day in Milton and I’m glad it was captured)

Today was a great day for Milton with the announcement of the hospital expansion earlier today. Many thanks to a LOT of people.

To the doctors and nurses and volunteers and staff of Milton Hospital…thank you. You were the ones under the gun over the last several years and despite everything seemingly against you, you have ALL done an amazing job.

The tears of joy I witnessed from the staff at MDH said it all.

To John Oliver and Alan Halls THANK YOU for your leadership and persistence in this matter. Everyone at Halton Healthcare Services has been a strong advocate for Milton and our needs and you have lead the charge.

To Friends of Milton Hospital, THANK YOU. Over 36,000 signatures were collected and presented to the government to let them know, THIS was the issue in town.

To my fellow council members, THANK YOU. Everytime we had the ear of a provincial minister of govt, we brought the Milton Hospital expansion to their attention. Theres a reason why Minister Deb Matthews mentioned our persistence.

To my colleagues on the Grow Milton Hospital campaign, THANK YOU! We helped in keeping the pressure up and we saw the end result in mind. Todays announcement was a result of a lot of people and the residents of Milton…THANK YOU.

There is also MPP Ted Chudleigh to thank for his years of work on this with the provincial government. John Oliver made mention in his speech of Ted’s efforts on raising awareness over the last several years, and while colourful at times, his passion for Halton residents in Milton was unwaivering. THANK YOU Ted!

Now the hard work begins. We WILL do this together and with everyones support from all sides … the job will get done.

What would you ask them?

Next week will be my first AMO (Associations of Municipalities of Ontario)Conference.  Its going to be held in London this year and goes from Sunday August 21st to Wednesday the 24th.

The conference is designed for municipal leaders from all over the province to meet and discuss issues and share knowledge and resources to help come up with solutions to problems.  There’s going to be roughly 1600 politicians running around London (sounds scary doesn’t it 🙂 ) for those days and I’m personally looking forward to a number of events that will be happening over the course of the conference.

Most importantly to me is some of the meetings that have been scheduled with provincial representatives by Regional Chair Gary Carr and ministers in the Province of Ontario.  I along with other Milton & Halton councillors will be attending these meetings.  This will provide us with an opportunity to speak directly with those ministers, mainly the Minister of Health Deb Matthews and Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli.  If those names sound familiar, you must have been reading my blog on a regular basis. 

These ministers are two of the key decision makers when it comes to getting a green light for the Milton Hospital expansion.  There have been meetings in the past, of course with no firm date or timeframe given to us, but hopefully we can “twist their arms” slightly in getting something done.  It is no secret in Milton that the expansion of the Milton District Hospital is “THE” issue in town.  

Week after week, organization after organization holds events in support of MDHF and the importance of supporting our local hospital.  Thousands of dollars has been raised for the foundation and even more will come with future events.

Regional Councillor Colin Best wrote a letter to the ministers via the Milton Canadian Champion recently outlining our concerns once again with the lack of detail in their latest “capital project projections”

If there is one issue that everyone in Milton can unite behind its the hospital.  We as elected officials in Milton have to keep up the pressure.  Its been well documented on my site about the efforts of the  Friends of Milton Hospital a few years ago and most recently the Grow Milton Hospital campaign and the numbers of signatures that have been collected and delivered to the Province of Ontario letting our voices be heard that we need that expansion to start now.

Unofficially the Town of Milton is over 90,000 in population with 100,000 in our sights.  The hospital continues to be under intense pressure to be able to deliver the health care services that Milton needs.  Beds are in short number, the nurses and doctors are doing their best but without the facilities needed to serve a growing population, it runs the risk of a disaster happening.

I’m hoping at this meeting, myself along with other Milton and Halton councillors can convince these provincial ministers (it IS a provincial election year mind you) to get off the fence and approve the expansion of Milton’s hospital.   There will also be opportunities to speak with the provincial party leaders as well during this conference (Dalton Mcguinty, Tim Hudak, Andrea Horvath) and rest assure I will be “badgering” them as well over the course of the four days.

If you have any comments or questions you would like me to pass on to the Health Minister and Minister of Infrastructure, please email me mike@mikecluett.ca and I will ask them directly when we meet with them.