Windsor city council defers vote on mega-hospital levy

A vote on Windsor’s share of funding the proposed mega-hospital has been deferred for one week.

Proposed mega-hospital funding vote deferred to April 25

Demonstrators were outside Windsor city hall Monday to protest the site of a proposed mega-hospital. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

A vote on Windsor's share of funding for the proposed mega-hospital has been deferred for one week.

Windsor city council was set to vote on a report calling for a two-per-cent tax hike in order to fund the city's $108-million contribution, but Mayor Drew Dilkens called for a deferral after a councillor could not make Monday's meeting.

Coun. Irek Kusmierczyk was absent from Monday's council meeting. 

The vote on the mega-hospital levy will now take place April 25 at 6 p.m..   

Windsor and Essex county have been asked to collectively pay $200 million for the construction of the hospital, should the provincial government approve the final plan.

According to city administration, Windsor's share of the funds would be raised "by way of a one-time dedicated property tax levy increase of $8,450,000 (2.19 per cent) starting in 2016, which would be reduced to $3,500,000 in 2026 and eliminated in 2028."

City council chambers were packed in anticipation of a vote on funding the proposed mega-hospital project. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

Dilkens said during the meeting he felt the decision on funding was too important to not have the entire council present.

"We wanted to have every council member present for the biggest discussion that's probably going to face this city council this term and probably for the next decade," Dilkens said. "At the end of the day this process exists to make sure members of council could participate in discussion." 

Because of the deferral, council could not hear Dilkens' alternative plan to the 2.19 per cent increase. 

He'll be presenting a different proposal that will see the city take money out of reserve funds and from the Samsung solar project — though taxpayer funding will still be required. 

"We know $100-million is not something we can raise with bake sales, car washes and $100-a-plate fundraisers, so there will be an element of fundraising but we have to get something more," he said.  

The city councillors who were present unanimously voted to defer the vote.

Before Monday's meeting, advocates from the Citizens for an Accountable Mega-Hospital Planning Process (CAMPP) and their supporters held signs outside City Hall calling for a reset to the hospital planning process.

Delegates from the group were expected to speak before council. They will be required to re-submit their application to speak before city council, though it's expected they will be back. 

As they left council chambers, one CAMPP supporter could be heard saying, "See you next week."