Orillia City Council approved a 2017 budget it says responsibly balances significant external financial pressures with the important needs of the community. The anticipated increase on property taxes will be around 3% – approximately $8.66 a month (approximately $104 a year) for residents with an average property assessment value of $250,000. “The City of Orillia was faced with a challenging budget this year,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “Presented with budget pressures outside of our control, Council was committed to reducing the impact on our residents as much as possible. Although we don’t like to see an increase in municipal taxes, I am pleased we were able to keep taxes much lower than originally anticipated.” New provincial legislation and changes to Simcoe County’s long-term capital plan had an impact.
Highlights of the 2017 budget include:
· Two additional Orillia Transit buses were pre-approved for 2017. This is in addition to three new buses approved in 2016.
· A stormwater maintenance and design study of the Queen and Front streets area to address flooding issues and challenges with current infrastructure and elevation constraints.
· Couchiching Beach Park boardwalk replacement extending northerly from the boat launch ramp to the Couchiching Beach Park pier past the Couchiching Pavilion.
· Numerous road infrastructure improvements including: widening Highway 12 from West Ridge Boulevard to Highway 11; Dufferin Street reconstruction from Colborne Street West to Barrie Road; and the annual road resurfacing program for seven local roads throughout the City.
· Design and replacement of the Udell Field House in J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park, as identified in the Parks, Recreation and Culture master Plan and the J.B. Memorial Park Design Plan Update.
· Continued funding of the Orillia Museum of Art and History and Information Orillia.
· Funding for the implementation of the recently approved Tourism Strategic Action Plan.
· A $1.06 million increase to City reserves, bringing the total contribution for 2017 to $15.2 million.
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