TRURO – The Colchester East Hants Hospice Society wants a property tax exemption from the Town of Truro.
Colchester East Hants Hospice Society seeks Truro property tax exemption
The society’s president, Rod Jones, made a presentation to Truro town council on Monday, stating the organization is projecting a $146,000 deficit for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
“The deficit budget is due to increased expenses for services provided to the community,” said Jones while reading a prepared report to council. The hospice society has been running a deficit since 2009.
Jones told the Truro Daily News the society’s operating budget is about $500,000 a year. According to a society report, the property tax burden represents 3.3 per cent of the organization’s 2013 budget and it would need to raise about $16,250 to cover its current tax bill.
“No other organization provides services like hospice (at) no
charge,” said Jones, referring to the numerous services offered to people facing end-of-life/palliative care and their families. Services include social work, bereavement, drop-in groups, one-on-one counselling, remembrance services, community education and more. In addition, more than 40 families a year receive food vouchers, which in total are valued at $33,000.
Jones said it typically requires 56 hours a week by family at home who are assisting with the needs of someone who is dying.
“Five hundred people die here a year and about 250 to 300 of them have direct experience with palliative/hospice care,” said Jones.
Jones reiterated that the organization, which employs six full-time staff and is located at 89 Queen St., is not government funded and previous support from the health authority was withdrawn due to provincial budget cuts. And, looking ahead, the organization wants to have a residential hospice centre in Truro, Jones said.
After hearing the presentation, council appeared supportive of the tax exemption request. It unanimously passed the first reading, with the understanding a new bylaw could be created specifically for the hospice society’s full tax exemption. Council will again discuss the topic during February’s monthly council meeting.
“It is a very valuable support to the town,” said Coun. Raymond Tynes.
Jones told this paper after council’s preliminary acceptance that he was “pretty optimistic but guarded until a (final) decision is made.”