Council approves lowest tax increase in 20 years

(Barrie, ON) After many amendments to the City's proposed budget, Council has approved a 0.92 per cent tax increase for 2021. Council's priority this year was keeping taxes low while residents continue to deal with the financial effects of the ongoing global pandemic. The operating budget of $368 million will deliver city services, and a capital budget of $253 million will be used to continue replacing and building more of Barrie's roads, pipes and buildings—including a new library branch in the Holly area.

For the average Barrie home (includes town homes, apartments & detached homes) assessed at $367,550, this increase translates to an additional $40.71 annually. The assessed value is provided by MPAC and is different than the market value of homes.

The 0.92 per cent property tax increase consists of 0.67 per cent for City services and services provided by our service partners (Barrie Police Services, County of Simcoe, Barrie Public library) and 0.25 per cent for the Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Fund. The fund is used to replace and renew roads, pipes and buildings. Given the economic uncertainty around the pandemic, Councillors temporarily reduced the one per cent dedicated infrastructure renewal fund to 0.25 per cent for 2021, to help provide financial relief for residents.

“It's clear that this is not the year for a significant tax increase," said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “Our residents are currently facing a new and deeper round of economic uncertainty due to the pandemic. This was an extremely challenging budget year, but I'm very pleased we were able to bring the tax increase down from 3.8 per cent to 0.9 per cent. We did this by making some very hard choices, like using $1.75 million from the Alectra community reinvestment reserve, to offset the tax base. The reserve is typically used to fund projects that have a benefit to the community—this year the biggest benefit to our community is keeping the tax increase down."

The 2021 operating budget includes:Funding for new permanent traffic calming measures to create safer roads.In recognition that more people will be spending time outdoors, continued investments will be made in parks and the waterfront with more furniture.Plans to modernize parking, moving away from paper parking passes by digitalizing various parking passes such as downtown monthly permits, resident waterfront permits, other potential residential area permits, or special event parking permits.New investments in economic development to position the city for recovery following the pandemic.New investments to address growing demand for customer service and by-law enforcement.

Some key projects in the 2021 capital budget include:New library branch in the Holly area.Construction of Allandale Transit Mobility Hub. The terminal will coordinate local and regional transit services with seamless connections.Land acquisition for a new Fire Station to service the Mapleview Road and Prince William Way area.The completion of Bryne Drive from Caplan Avenue to Harvie Road to reduce traffic congestion at the Essa Road and Mapleview Drive interchanges by redirecting east / west traffic to the Harvie Road / Big Bay Point Road Highway Crossing.Expansion of Essa Road from Coughlin Road to Mapleview Drive West.Bell Farm Road reconstruction.Completion of the Harvie Road bridge.Continued focus on addressing the condition of roads and saving money over the long term with the road resurfacing program.Several stormwater projects to address regulatory compliance, protect Lake Simcoe and reduce flooding.

Notes Lehman, “Our Council is also making a significant investment into the County's Long Term Care facilities and staff will be reporting back on additional investments in affordable housing, economic development, and the social determinants of health."

Council also approved a 2.48 per cent increase to water rates and the wastewater rates were frozen for 2021. New rates come into effect in May of each year, and for a typical Barrie home consuming 180 cubic metres of water annually, the water bill will increase by $8.83.

Residential property tax bill funds are allocated to City services (56 per cent), education (13 per cent as mandated by the Province) and Service Partners (31 per cent between the Barrie Police Service, County of Simcoe, Public Libraries, etc.). The Business Plan & Budget will be funded through property taxes, user fees and other financing sources.

Residents can and use the City's Property Tax Calculator to see an estimate of their property taxes and a breakdown of how they're used to fund services. The 2021 Business Plan & Budget is available



Media Contact
Scott LaMantia
Senior Communications Advisor
The City of Barrie
(705) 739-4220 ext. 4529