Orillia Council has passed a 2016 budget with an anticipated blended increase of 2.9%, which translates to a property tax increase of approximately $8.18 a month ($98 a year) for residents with an average home assessment value of $250,000. The budget focuses on infrastructure needs throughout the City and planning for future development.
“Council is making decisions today that will set Orillia up for success in the future,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “By focusing on economic development, addressing infrastructure needs throughout the City, strengthening our transit system, and replenishing the City’s reserves, we are putting in place necessary initiatives to move our City forward.”
Significant infrastructure improvements were approved including: West Orillia roadway improvements required for future development in the area; Fittons Road reconstruction from Tallwood Drive to Bay Street that addresses underground infrastructure needs; repairs and modernization of the Rotary Aqua Theatre in Couchiching Beach Park; and six road resurfacing projects throughout the City. Council also approved $450,000 for the class environmental assessment and design for Centennial Drive and Canice Street from Brant Street to Elgin Street, which will pave the way for future realignment of Centennial Drive and development opportunities in the waterfront area.
The Orillia Transit system will get three additional busses in November 2016 through the Metrolinx’s Transit Procurement Initiative at a cost of $1.425 million being funded through City reserves. This will help reduce the strain experienced by the Orillia Transit System following the introduction of extended bus service hours.
In addition, Council approved a restructuring of the City’s economic development function into a standalone department as opposed to its current status as a division within the Development Services Department. The new Economic Development Department will focus on tourism, business retention and expansion, business attraction, and real estate. A capital project of $194,000 will see the Economic Development Department move to a more prominent location on the first floor of City Centre.