MIDDLESEX COUNTY – At the October 10, 2023 County Council meeting, Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) CEO Emily Williams addressed pressing financial concerns and asked for council’s support.
MLHU’s finances have been in flux due to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and budgetary constraints. In 2022, they recorded a surplus of $2 million, primarily due to continued COVID-19 efforts and incomplete program resumptions.
In 2023, regular programs resumed, but a budget deficit was predicted, which would lead to delays in hiring. Looking ahead to 2024, despite funding increases, MLHU faces a budget gap of $2.6 million to $2.8 million, necessitating program cuts.
A key challenge is variable credit with rising interest rates, which leads to increased financial pressure. To address this issue, MLHU requested permission to use the surplus to repay this loan, thereby providing much-needed financial reprieve.
Councilor Sue Clarke immediately sought to clarify the impact of delays in hiring. Williams explained that the organization is considering permanent staff reductions, which would inevitably impact various programs and services.
Council approved the request to use the county’s surplus to reduce the outstanding variable bank loan, providing critical financial relief to MLHU. The decision highlights the need to adapt to financial challenges to maintain essential health services.
The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.