Barrie’s budget this year means a 2.75% increase over last, but it’s not written in stone yet. The average Barrie resident’s tax bill will increase by about $114 as a result, up to about $4250 a year on a $334,000 home. The 2018 operating and capital budget not only pays for the usual suspects like snow clearing, recreation programs, and infrastructure, it also contains changes to the bottom line due to changes on the provincial level; This year’s municipal budget asks for many increases over last year, including $645,000 more in employee salaries as a direct result of Provincial Legislation including the increase to the minimum wage and all the stipulations associated with it. Alternately, city staff subtracted around $15,000 as the province’s OHIP+ now covers prescription costs for employees’ young family members. Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman says provincial legislation plays a part in the budget process often enough they’ve got a term for it.
A big chunk of change, at $60 million, is going towards beginning a much-needed project.
Funds have been set aside to help pay for the south end Annexed Lands development, along with upgrades to Painswick Park, more cigarette butt receptacles, and two new police officers to be sworn in, also contributing to the bottom line. Surprisingly, the budget debate took very little time compared to years previous, indicating what council referred to as a “fat-free” budget with little to trim.
While the budget was approved all around, it has yet to receive final ascent. Council are expected to rubber stamp the budget at next week’s meeting.