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North Bay social services budget being increased to address homelessness, paramedic services

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The social services board in the Nipissing District is using its reserves to keep the tax levy down to less than three per cent after passing its 2024 budget.

The total budget will be at just under $95 million dollars, up $4.5 million from 2023.

This means a 2.99 per cent tax increase.

"That 2.99 per cent is spread amongst all of the surrounding communities," King said. "North Bay pays about 79 per cent of that overall increase."

The board’s Homelessness Prevention Program funding is getting a nearly $3 million dollar increase to $5.3 million to ease pressure on the housing services budget levy.

"The warming centre, someone has to pay for that facility," said Mark King, the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board chair.

"There's been enhanced security in the downtown core and most of that money has come from DNSSAB."

The board also approved a budget increase for paramedic services.

"There are significant increases to the paramedic services budget due to inflation, collective bargaining and increased call volumes which has led to increased paramedic deployment," the budget report states.

Paramedic services changes are imminent and include enhanced response to Temagami, Mattawa and South Algonquin.

"These smaller communities find it difficult to attract people to that location because of housing and these people are in and out of these small communities to provide the service," the report said.

The budget report said inflation will continue to result in annual increases for the Northern Pines transitional housing complex and its neighbouring low-barrier shelter, as officials aim to open Phase 3 of the project as soon as possible.

"That's part of this process, to get it up and have it fully operational," King said.

As part of the overall budget, the Nipissing District Housing Corporation (NDHC) funding was also passed. 

The NDHC operating and capital funding is incorporated within the overall DNSSAB housing services budget.

The full budget document can be found on the DNSSAB website.

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