Friday, April 4, 2008

Timmins ignored by province on ambulance issue

Timmins taxpayers are paying nearly $800,000 a year more to the province than they should be paying, but the province of Ontario is ignoring the complaints from Timmins City Hall.
The issue is the cost of land ambulance service which Timmins pays for through the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB). It runs the ambulance service for Timmins, Iroquois Falls, Black River-Matheson, Cochrane, Kapuskasing and Hearst.
A frustrated councillor Denis Saudino told council Monday that Queen’s Park is not responding to the several attempts by Timmins to discuss the issue.
“If we were on our own, if Timmins was isolated and separated from the other communities and you said ‘Okay Timmins let’s hear the cost to run a land ambulance service in Timmins’, it would be 800,000 less each year than what it is today. That’s a simple as I can make it,” said Saudino.
“We’re subsidizing either the provincial government which is not giving us enough, or we are subsidizing the other municipalities, however you want look at it,” he said. “I don’t like to blame the other municipalities because they’re in a financial crunch as much as we are,” Saudino said.
Timmins CAO Joe Torlone told council he cannot understand why the province is blatantly ingoring the city.
“We began this on February 4, 2005, we first started this and our last presentation was February 6, 2008 , so its three years and one day,” Torlone told council.
He added that the city has sent six letters and one very strong-worded resolution to the province as well.
“We’ve had a firm ‘thank you’,” Torlone said, adding ““There is definitely a funding inequity of about $780,000 a year.”
Councillor Mike Doody suggested the city should contact other municipalities to get them on-side with the issue so that a united front can be presented to the province.
Doody suggested it would be a good issue to bring the funding issue to the attention of Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle at the annual meeting of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities in Saulte Ste. Marie in May.

No comments: