The City's Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Fund allows the City to fix infrastructure while significantly reducing debt and saving residents millions of dollars.
Like most municipalities, Barrie has a significant gap between the amount of money available each year to maintain its infrastructure and the amount of money needed to ensure infrastructure remains in a state of good repair.
In 2015 the City introduced the Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Fund (DIRF) to help address this problem by closing the gap. The fund is used only for the replacement and rehabilitation of Barrie’s roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure.
Investing a percentage of property taxes into this dedicated fund allows for increased, transparent funding to keep more of our infrastructure well maintained and avoid costly repairs, while reducing the City’s debt substantially.
Temporary cut to the DIRF in 2021
To keep the tax increase as low as possible in 2021, Council had to make difficult choices, including a temporary cut to the DIRF contribution, from 1% to 0.25%. Council is committed to gradually increasing this fund back to 1% over time.
What is Infrastructure
Our infrastructure refers to the physical assets that the City uses to deliver services to our community. The City currently owns approximately $5 billion worth of infrastructure, which includes our roads, bridges, storm water drains and sewers, streetlights, sidewalks, community centres, water treatment facilities, buses and much more.
Why Infrastructure Matters
Just like we need strong bones to keep us healthy and active, cities need well-maintained infrastructure to keep our communities safe, healthy and livable. It makes people and businesses want to locate here and is a key ingredient to building and supporting a strong, vibrant city.
The Importance in Maintaining our Infrastructure
Maintaining our infrastructure is important not only because it saves us money on expensive emergency repairs, but also because it helps protect the health and safety of our citizens by decreasing the risk of a major failure such as a water main bursting or road crumbling.
The City's Asset Management Plans assess the amount of investment required to ensure our assets can continue to safely and reliably deliver services.
How Infrastructure is Funded
Infrastructure is funded through a combination of property taxes, reserve funds, development charges, debt financing and funding from Provincial and Federal Governments through gas taxes.
Since its creation in 2015, the Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Fund has generated approximately $44.2M to help fund such projects as:
- Reconstruction of major roads including Morrow Road and Mapleview Drive East (Huronia – Country Lane).
- Dunlop Streetscape Project – Toronto to Mulcaster
- Kidds and Sophia Creek Storm Pond Upgrades
- Neighbourhood Renewal Projects including Wellington, Allandale and Queens Park (preconstruction phases)
- Bell Farm Road ROW Expansion
- Duckworth Street New Transmission Watermain and ROW Expansion
- Hurst Drive Road Reconstruction – Cox Mill to Golden Meadow
- Various Facility Renewal projects
- Dunlop, Poyntz and Berczy New Watermain and ROW Replacement