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2011 Business Plan
& 2011–2020 Capital Plan

Important! The proposed 2011 Business Plan presented to City Council on March 28, 2011 was ratified by Council on April 4th through a series of amendments. Please refer to “2011 Business Plan Amendments” for a complete listing of the approved changes to the 2011 Business Plan documents. These amendments in concert with the 2011 Business Plan documents comprise the approved 2011 Business Plan for the City of Barrie. 

Use the following table of contents to view the 2011 Business Plan & 2011 – 2020 Capital Plan in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.

This document is also available for public viewing in a hard-copy format at the City Clerk’s Office or Finance Department, 70 Collier Street, 1st Floor.  If an alternate format is required, please contact (705) 739-4204.

Table of Contents

2011 Business Plan Amendments   -
Executive Summary   1
Introduction   3
Strategic Priorities   15
Business Plan Development Framework   22
Financial Policy Framework   28
Financial Condition   38
Fund Account Summary   54
2011 Corporate Operating Budget Overview   59
2011 Tax Rate Supported Operating Budget   61
2011 User Rate Supported Operating Budgets   96
2011-2020 Capital Plan and Budget   119
Long Range Financial Plan   163
Operating Budget Details   166
Recommended Program Change Forms   312
Council Expenses   357
Other Expenses   361
Service Partners   363
Water User Rate Based Budget   389
Wastewater User Rate Based Budget   392
Parking Rate Based Budget   395
Proposed Fee Changes   397
2011–2020 Capital Plan Summary   458
2011–2014 Capital Plan Summary   467
2011–2014 Capital Program Details   472
Capital Budget Details    
User's Guide to the City of Barrie Departmental Performance Plan   492
Glossary   500

Frequently Asked Questions

The 2011 Business Plan addressed Council's direction to develop a budget that not only described how we planned to use the resources entrusted to us, but also described the goals and objectives we intended to achieve.  As the process moved forward, many questions arose surrounding the use of tax dollars and how decisions are made.  Please find answers to some common questions that came up.

What is the property tax increase?

Council approved a 2.63% property tax increase. For a home assessed at $261,000, this translates into an $88 property tax increase.

Are water and wastewater rates increasing?

Yes. For a typical home- one that consumes 180 cubic metres of water per year- the increase will be approximately $88 over last year’s fee, which is a total cost of $519 for the year.

Under Ontario Regulation 453, Municipalities are required to maintain financially sustainable water and wastewater systems. In conjunction with the Council approved 2009 rate structure review, the 2010 Council approved water and wastewater long-range plan identified the need for increased revenues to achieve the goal of financial sustainability.

The increased rates for 2011 will offset operating costs related to the expansion of the wastewater pollution control plant, the new surface water treatment plant and provide contributions to reserves which support current and future capital works.

Aren’t we in tough economic times – is a property tax affordable?

City Council considers many factors when deciding the type and level of service it wants residents to receive. General economic conditions are one of the factors, and all available analysis anticipates an economic recovery will occur throughout 2011. Council also approved a set of financial policies which, among other details, establishes affordability thresholds for property taxes. Staff check the cost of the business plan against the affordability thresholds when preparing the budget. The 2011 Business Plan is within Council’s affordability thresholds. You can read more about this in the “Financial Condition” section of the Executive Summary in the 2011 Business Plan.

Will I see a difference in the services I receive?

Yes. Barrie residents will see improved or additional services this year. One of the main focuses of the budget was the $125 million Capital Plan which includes the completion of several new facilities that will be officially unveiled and will be ready for use this year. These include: the Barrie Fire Station #1, the Surface Water Treatment Plant, the new Satellite library, a second GO Transit platform at the Allandale Station and the Downtown Community Theatre. This comprehensive capital program also includes road improvements ($4M towards surface renewal and major rehabilitation of roads) as well as the replacement or repair of roofs at some City facilities. Public Transit will also be receiving some new equipment, with $2.25 million being put towards bus replacement.

What is changing at the City of Barrie landfill? Am I still allowed the same allowances as before?

A onetime visit to dispose of up to 100 kg of garbage per household at no charge will continue in 2011. The residential basic tipping fee for garbage has been set at $122 per tonne with a minimum $10 charge for the first 100kg.

Why can’t we use the funds that the City has in reserve instead of raising taxes?

Using funds in reserve instead of raising taxes is like selling your car and using the proceeds to pay your household’s monthly bills – sooner or later the money will run out but the expenses will continue. The City of Barrie puts funds aside for various purposes, most often to help fund investments in new infrastructure or to renew infrastructure we already own. Some of these reserves were created for a specific purpose, so the funds are restricted and could not be used to reduce a property tax increase. Using funds in reserve instead of raising taxes actually leads to a higher tax increase in the future - or reductions in service - if the City’s infrastructure and asset renewal plans are going to be achieved.

The 2011 Business Plan includes the addition of 14 staff members. Why do we need so many?

The new positions are needed in order to operate and maintain the additional facilities completed in 2011.

Why is so much attention given to the City of Barrie’s budget?

When City Council approves the budget, it is approving a plan that describes the local government services and service levels to be provided throughout 2011. In other words, it is the City’s business plan for the coming year. It describes how the City will pay for the plan - through a combination of property taxes, user fees and funds received from other levels of government and where the money will go to provide programs and services. It is a key accountability document, and it’s available for download from the City’s website.

Do property taxes need to increase?

City Council decides whether property taxes need to increase based on the services and service levels it wants residents to receive from their local government. Council provides direction to City staff at the start of the budget process about what it expects the recommended budget to include. For 2011, City Council directed staff to produce a budget that maintained existing services and service levels, and that incorporated the results of recently-completed Council’s strategic planning process.

Aren’t property taxes high enough already?

Actually, the City of Barrie’s property taxes are not out of line with other Ontario municipalities. For example, compared to other Ontario municipalities with more than 100,000 residents, a detached bungalow in Barrie pays approximately 3% less property tax than a similar property in other cities. Property taxes are based on Council’s decisions about the types of services and service levels that should be provided, and about the degree to which user fees should be used to pay for them.

How do I know the City is providing good quality services for the taxes I pay?

City Council considers several factors when deciding how to balance the sometimes competing priorities of residents who want more or better service and others who want government to cost less. It is not an easy task, so we have developed several measures to compare our performance. One of the ways we are measuring our performance is by participating in the Ontario Municipal CAO’s Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI) . OMBI provides valid, rigorous performance comparisons between the City of Barrie’s services and other Ontario municipalities. The City’s 2011 Business Plan includes details about services and service levels to assist Council with determining the appropriate mix of service levels, fees and property taxation.

How does the City determine what takes priority when deciding the budget? (what gets done, what doesn’t)

The City has a comprehensive planning and project prioritization process to identify the best place to use its limited financial resources. While several factors are considered, the objective of the process is to identify the most critical spending needs based on an evaluation of previous directions from Council, expected service levels, condition of existing assets, and the risk and impact of service disruptions.

A recommended budget will be presented on March 28th. Subject to Council’s discussions, the budget will be approved at its April 4th meeting. Following the passing of the budget, watch for a ‘Budget Special Edition’ on this page in the weeks following that will highlight key components of the 2011 Business Plan..


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