Some first steps in the Barrie budgetary process were taken, in the form of three presentations at City Hall. Representatives from the Barrie Public Library, Police Service, and the County of Simcoe were in council chambers Monday night to show councillors how much each organization hopes for from the municipal coffers next year.
The Barrie Police Service‘s budget is the biggest ask of the three, at $51.8 million. The most substantial chunk of that change, at just over $49mil, goes towards salaries and benefits for officers and civilian employees. This year marks the first in over five years the police service will attempt to increase its compliment, and hope to hire two new officers and two civilian members in 2018. The money would also go towards a radio systems upgrade, training, and fleet maintenance, among other operating expenses. Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood says the budget would have been about five million higher, if not for government grants and police revenues.
The Barrie Public Library has prepared a budget that calls for just over 7.75 million bucks, representing a nearly $300,000 increase over last year. The biggest increase in the library’s budget is the addition of full time security guards. Library representatives say the number of incidences reported at the libraries has gone from 115 in 2014 to 438 last year.
The County of Simcoe was third to the podium Monday night, and requested about 20.5 million bucks of the city. That ask number is actually about 1.5 million dollars less than what was requested of Barrie in 2017, and in fact, the lowest request from the county in the last four years. The money not only supports the county’s four long term care homes, it also helps to pay for emergency services across Simcoe, representing some of the biggest ticket items on the county budget. Affordable housing also represents a major cost towards the county’s bottom line, while the county museum and archive would also get a share.
City council will now take all this information into account as the municipal Operating and Capital Budget is refined over the coming weeks.