The dispute between the City of Kingston and Frontenac County has been ongoing since January, when council reviewed its 2019 budget.
The ongoing budget dispute between the city and county began when the city offered a five percent increase towards paramedic services.
The county, however, is not willing to accept that number.
The Frontenac County Paramedic Services is asking for close to a 10 per cent increase, which would total $760,000.
“A 10 per cent increase for us is very, very high,” Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson told Global News Thursday morning. “That’s four times higher than our budget target of a 2.5 per cent increase.”
Ron Higgins, the Warden of North Frontenac County, responded through a statement to Global News:
“The increase in taxation reflects additional costs to run these operations and we have been working to bring our paramedic services to meet response time standards through a phased-in approach over the last three years. It is also important to note that the province is not contributing an agreed to 50 per cent any longer, which impacts our budget by increasing taxes to make up the shortfall.”
Gale Chevalier, chief of Frontenac County Paramedic Services, said an increase will allow paramedics to keep up with the current demands.
“This wasn’t a surprise to the city; we’ve been advising them over the past three years as we’ve been increasing vehicle hours and these resources are already deployed and on the road. This is about providing good patient care,” says Chevalier.
Paterson sees one option to settle the dispute.
“It will be up to the City of Kingston to decide how much money we’re going to give the county; the county will respond in turn. If it’s less than what they ask for we could end up in a situation where we go to arbitration,” Paterson said.
An increase in the budget for paramedic services will be up for debate at Kingston city council next week.