Essex County Council Approves 2021 Budget

Thursday December 3rd, 2020

Posted at 7:41am

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Essex County Council passed passed the 2021 budget Wednesday night. The tax rate increase of 0.49% works out to a $4.70 increase on a home assessed at $200,000.

“This budget embraces the County’s pay-as-you-go philosophy while making vital investments to promote growth and development along with the construction of a modern hospitals system that will benefit this region for generations to come,” said Sandra Zwiers, Director of Financial Services/Treasurer. “It promotes quality of life issues that matter to residents like improved roads and a connected trail network, it addresses mental health and addiction issues and it invests in the mental wellness of our first responders who have been standing tall against COVID-19.”

Highlights of the 2021 Budget include funds for an EMS Mental Health and Addictions Response Team pilot project to address community substance abuse issues. The team, consisting of a VPN Paramedic and a staff member of a specialized partner agency, will respond in real time to mental health and addictions calls and provide patients with specialized care. This program will support our most vulnerable residents while also working to lessen demand on standard EMS services.

This Budget also addresses the mental wellness issues first responders must often confront, building on the success of the Peer Support Program, which sees specially trained paramedics offer guidance to their colleagues and other first responder agencies. Essex-Windsor EMS will implement psychological pre-hire assessments, similar to those conducted by the military and police and fire services, to better understand who may be susceptible to mental injury.

Sun Parlor Home will see additional resources to meet enhanced care mandates, including increased numbers of PSWs and RPNs along with the continuation of the visitation coordinator and screener positions introduced this year. As well, Sun Parlor Home will hire a coordinator to augment the efforts of their Infection Prevention and Control team.

Essex-Windsor EMS will receive funding for full-faced respirators and continuing practices embraced during COVID-19 like doffing stations and enhanced uniform cleaning. The Emergency Management Budget includes funding for the Municipal 511 incident mapping platform that provides a real-time view, both internally and for the public, of construction projects and lane restrictions and road closures in Windsor and Essex County.

The budget also includes a $51 million construction program including $31.9 million for capacity expansion and an $12.4 million Road Rehabilitation program including more than two dozen projects and $550,000 boost in mega-hospital funding, bringing the 2021 contribution to $5.8 million and the total set aside to nearly $25 million.

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