PRESS RELEASE2013 Budget: Focusing on Today, Planning For Tomorrow
Monday, January 28, 2013
Following a series of cuts that brought the city’s’ operations budget down more than $1.4 million, City Council has approved a 3.3% tax increase for residents which translates into an additional $119 for a typical household worth $277,000.
While Council was faced with tough decisions to get the tax rate down, improving the condition of the city’s roads and public transit were kept as key priorities this year. These were two areas identified as top priorities according to residents in the 2011 citizen satisfaction survey.
"This year, the City held operating cost increases very low - only 1.0% of the tax increase is due to operating cost increases, despite the City operating a new Fire Hall in the southwest, implementing a brand new plan for transit, and doing much more environmental work to ensure the health of Lake Simcoe. However, fixing more roads and pipes has required an additional 1.1% increase to support infrastructure repair. And finally, payments for the road projects and buildings undertaken as stimulus projects with Federal and Provincial funding total a 1.2% increase. Together these total the 3.3% increase,” says Mayor Jeff Lehman.
The $129M capital plan, which includes new requests plus amounts approved in previous years, will continue to move ahead such projects as: Cundles/Duckworth interchange, Sunnidale Reservoir, the transit garage, Mapleview Drive, Wastewater Treatment Facility and technology and process improvements which will result in cost savings to the corporation. The works planned for Lakeshore Drive Reconstruction and Centennial Park Improvements have been spread over four years in order to smooth the financial impact in future years. In 2013, the culvert works will be done which will help to ensure the health of Lake Simcoe and to reduce risks associated with flooding.
The 2013 Budget will also be absorbing full year costs for new police officers hired in 2012, a new fire station, Painswick library and the new transit plan that will be getting underway this summer. However, residents will still continue to receive one free load up to 100 kg per residence to Barrie’s landfill.
“Last year, Council endorsed a 12-year plan to increase funding for asset rehabilitation and renewal and this business plan reflects the second year of following that plan. It’s a document that adjusts some service levels while maintaining our assets and planning responsibly for the future” says Ed Archer, General Manager of Corporate Services.
"Now that the stimulus period is over, the city needs to cut back its capital plan and cut the amount of debt used to fund projects,” says Mayor Jeff Lehman. "Changes to the budget this year have also resulted in the forecast debt requirement for the city being reduced by $11M. This builds on more than $25M of debt reduction through Council's changes to last year's budget. We need to do everything possible to limit the City's reliance on debt for its capital plan, while still doing the critical work that the City needs," says Lehman.
Of the residential property tax bill, 16% is for school boards, 49% funds City services and 35% funds the city’s service partners such as the Barrie Police, Public Library and services delivered by the County of Simcoe such as Land Ambulance and Social Services. The plan will be financed by a combination of property taxes, user fees and other financing sources.
The City of Barrie
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