County of Essex

Essex-Windsor EMS recognizing Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Essex-Windsor EMS is doing its part to help people during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

As part of its support, Essex-Windsor EMS is flying yellow and purple flags outside its bases this September in recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter said they are a strong supporter of this awareness campaign being spearheaded by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex County Branch, in partnership with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. He noted they are flying the flags at all EMS stations and have been active in the campaign for the last three years.

“We are a strong supporter of suicide prevention,” said Krauter.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadians under 25. In 2011, more than 40 residents from Windsor and Essex County died by suicide and there was a nine-year high for self-harm emergency department visits in 2015, according to the CMHA.

“Suicide isn’t the answer,” said Krauter.

Essex-Windsor EMS is flying flags for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month at all of its bases during the month of September (County of Essex photo)

Krauter noted that it is hard on first responders to go out on such calls and that even EMS members can suffer from mental health problems.

“As is the case with any first responder, we’re human too,” he said. “They may be suffering too.”

The key message of this year’s campaign is “You Are Not Alone” and the CMHA stresses that connecting and openly communicating with those who have had suicidal thoughts or those who have lost loved ones to suicide “is essential in the effort towards suicide prevention.”

Krauter said people are encouraged to reach out and talk if they are going through any difficulties. He said Essex-Windsor EMS has methods in place to support each other.

“We have an active peer support system within Essex-Windsor EMS,” said Krauter.

The County of Essex alerts people that there are events happening as part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, including an event this Sunday at 9 a.m. at the St. Clair College Sportsplex. There is a 5km or 2km Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk. For more information on seminars and events, check out the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month calendar on the CMHA’s website, found at https://windsoressex.cmha.ca.

There is help available 24-hours a day and there are caring professionals ready to listen. The Community Crisis Centre (Ages 16+) has a 24-Hour Crisis Line that can be reached by calling 519-973-4435 with the Windsor Distress Centre (all ages) being available noon to midnight by calling 519-256-5000.

“It’s OK to ask for help and it’s OK to get help,” said Krauter.

Projected operations results for county look favourable

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The County of Essex has projected its results of operations for 2018 and the results are looking favourable.

However, its treasurer notes there is some work to be done to keep everything on course.

Essex County council received a report from director of financial services/treasurer Sandra Zwiers with Zwiers informing county council that corporate operations are projected to be in a surplus position of $625,000 by the end of 2018.

“This report is based on activity as of the end of June,” she told county council last Wednesday night.

In her report to county council, Zwiers said the projections are “predicated on a number of significant assumptions.” Those include favourable resolutions to various outstanding wage-related matters within collective bargaining groups, winter control activities returning to the five-year average level for the early fall and early winter period of 2018, social service caseloads and social housing costs remaining favourable, no significant tax write-offs and improved returns on investments within Essex County’s investment portfolio.

“There are no deficits,” she said. “All departments are performing well.”

The community services department is forecast to have no surplus or deficit, with Zwiers’ report noting county council approved an increase in the per diem rate for Housing with Supports’ contracted service providers.

“This recommendation matched the approval made by the City of Windsor, effective April 1, 2018 and April 1, 2019,” the report stated. “Subsequent to these council approvals, the Corporation (of the County of Essex) and the City of Windsor have been working to confirm the flow of funds and revised funding levels. The Corporation is currently awaiting confirmation of those details from the City in order to better ascertain the impacts these funding changes will have on our operations.”

The Sun Parlor Home in Leamington is projected to carry a $60,000 positive variance with that being attributed to additional subsidies being passed after the passing of the 2018 budget.

“The largest contributor to increased subsidy levels relates to funding our internal behavioral supports program (approximately $40,000),” Zwiers stated in her report to county council. “Savings in life enrichment and food and nutritional programs have also been identified as marginal factors contributing to the projected surplus in long-term care services.”

There are no surpluses or deficits forecast for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), library services, general government or infrastructure services. Regarding the latter, Zwiers reported that department was originally projected to be in a surplus position of $650,000 but county council was presented a report to address an emergency culvert repair on County Road 23, near Essex.

The external commitments department is projected to have a surplus position of $565,000 at the end of the calendar year.

“Estimates by the City of Windsor indicate a savings in social assistance of $495,000,” she wrote, adding Ontario Works caseloads are trending lower than budget. There are also savings in social housing of $70,000, Zwiers added, due to a reduction in subsidy payments.

“The Corporation’s projected financial position is based on six months of activity with significant uncertainty regarding budget performance for social services, social housing, Emergency Medical Services, transportation services, investment earnings and outstanding contract/wage settlements and pay/internal equity adjustments,” Zwiers concluded. “Variance from projections in anyone of these operations could have a significant impact on the Corporation’s financial position for 2018. Financial services, with the assistance of all departments, continue to look for opportunities for reductions and cost savings and will carefully monitor operations and report accordingly.”

County Road 20 facing road closure this week, another starting next week

 

The town is advising that County Road 20 will be closed between Front Road South and Concession 3 South to through traffic starting next Monday.

The closure is to facilitate the removal and replacement of a road crossing culvert. The town says this closure is expected to last approximately three days, weather permitting. Detour routes will be posted.

During this time, the town states that no access will be permitted through the construction zone. County Road 20 will remain open to local traffic only up to the road closure for eastbound and westbound motorists, but will not be permitted through the construction zone.

One road closure on County Road 20 east of Malden Centre has started while another County Road 20 road closure starts next week. (Photo from County of Essex Twitter page)

The town reminds residents that during construction, traffic disruptions will occur and some delays may be experienced. Please slow down, obey all traffic signage, and follow all posted detour routes.

The County of Essex has advised that another stretch of County Road 20 is now closed. The stretch of road between County Road 9 (Howard Ave.) and County Road 50 is now closed and will remain that way until Aug. 20. A culvert is being replaced in that area.

County of Essex receives 2017 consolidated financial statements

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The County of Essex has received its 2017 consolidated financial statements and they show the county is in good financial health.

The report, presented by director of financial services/treasurer Sandra Zwiers, state that the 2017 consolidated financial statements “illustrate the Corporation’s continued commitment to sound financial planning and long-term fiscal sustainability.”

“KPMG has expressed a clean(unqualified) audit opinion following its examination of the accounts of the Corporation. An unqualified audit opinion is an auditor’s judgment that the Corporation’s results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2017, and its financial position as at December 31, 2017 are fairly and appropriately represented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in the Consolidated Financial Report,” Zwiers stated in her report.

Zwiers noted that KPMG did not find any significant unusual transactions, no change in the application of accounting policies, no exceptions in testing on significant estimates, no illegal acts or possible illegal acts, no fraud or suspected fraud involving administration or employees and no audit differences were identified.

KPMG also received full co-operations from administration and employees from the County of Essex, Zwiers’ report indicated.

The county’s accumulated surplus sat at $282.7 million as of Dec. 31, 2017, with the 2017 annual surplus being just over $25.4 million. The county’s 2017 budget surplus was approximately $407,500, exclusive of EWSWA operations.

The county had nearly $126 million in reserves at the end of 2017.

The County of Essex has committed upwards of $100 million for the new mega-hospital with just over $6.4 million in reserves to support that initiative. Other county commitments include a $1 million commitment over ten years that started in 2010 to the Windsor Regional Hospital “Cornerstone of Caring” campaign, a $2 million commitment over ten years to the Hospice-Erie Shores facility in Leamington that started in 2014 and a $1.1 million commitment over five years to the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Inc. (SWIFT) initiative and the latter commitment commenced in 2015.

Two culvert replacements to occur in rural Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A pair of culvert replacements will be taking place in Amherstburg.

The County of Essex will be replacing a concrete box culvert on County Road 20 over the Concession 7 South drain this summer. Director of Infrastructure Services/County Engineer Tom Bateman said the other will be in Kingsville, specifically on County Road 27 over the Cottam Outlet Drain.

“Both of them are full replacements of existing box culverts,” said Bateman.

The roads will have to be closed when the work is going on, he added. Both projects are anticipated to take three weeks.

The County Road 20 project in Amherstburg was awarded to Southshore Contracting Inc. for a total tender amount of $397,325 plus HST. The engineer’s estimate was $490,000.

Southshore Contracting Inc. also received the Kingsville project, with that being slightly over budget. The tender amount was $467,888 plus HST with the engineer’s estimate being $420,000.

“We can accommodate the variances within our overall program,” said Bateman.

A map, provided by the Town of Amherstburg, shows where the culvert replacement will be taking place on Howard Ave. starting July 3.

The town will be undertaking a culvert replacement on Howard Ave. early next month. The town advises that, starting July 3, a culvert just south of County Road 18 will be replaced with the construction period lasting an estimated four weeks, weather permitting.

The town advises that no traffic will be permitted through the construction zone. Howard Ave. will remain open to local traffic only up to the road closure for northbound motorists, but will not be permitted through the construction zone.

The Town of Amherstburg reminds residents that during construction traffic disruptions will occur and some delays may be experienced. Please slow down, obey all traffic signage, and follow all posted detour routes.

Shane McVitty, drainage superintendent and engineering co-ordinator with the Town of Amherstburg, said the culvert is part of the 8th Concession Road Drain South with the actual culvert work – approximately $180,000 – being paid for by the county. He said the town is undertaking about $492,000 worth of work on the drain and the culvert is at the bottom portion of the drain.

Those costs include engineering work, McVitty added.