Updated: Jan 14, 2022
At City Council on Monday, Council finalized the 2022 Business Plan (budget), with surprisingly little debate!
Engage's Summary: https://www.engagebarrie.org/post/city-council-monday-december-6-7pm
First off, recognition of the city's Marketing and Communications Team, who were recipients of three MarCom Awards for 2021: The Platinum Award for COVID-19 Communications Response, and for acting as leaders in the area by sharing all assets with communications teams in Simcoe County for use in their own communities; a Gold Award for the communication response to the Barrie Tornado; and an Honourable Mention, in partnership with Development Services, for a video to educate and engage citizens about the City's Official Plan – congratulations team and staff!!
Next up was a strong and heartfelt deputation to Council by Engage contributing member Michael Speers, concerning the 2022 Police Services Budget. If you missed it, he's provided us all with a transcript at https://www.engagebarrie.org/post/deputation-re-2022-barrie-police-service-budget
Council adopted the recommended Timing of Development and 10-Year Capital Deferral options, as set out in the presentation: https://barrie.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10000005&GUID=B61F5B6B-6582-4A88-809A-8916CBD0C0DA, and the Long Range Financial Plan and Financial Policy Framework Update as recommended in the staff report: https://barrie.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=9965304&GUID=0BEF29EC-BD50-40FC-A24A-C83D103BA68C (although the financial plan and policy framework related to the Barrie Hydro Holdings Inc. Dividend was rejected).
Once again ignoring both Mr. Speers and the global #defundthepolice movement, the Police Services budget increase was approved – with Councillors Harvey and N.Harris abstaining from the vote, and only Councillor Aylwin voting against it.
The remainder of the 2022 Business Plan was approved, with 3 new amendments (https://barrie.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10299062&GUID=E6D9500B-36BB-4B3D-B06D-A26E8FB02A30). The first added further reporting from the CAO regarding cost saving efficiencies and measures, the second allowed the Director of Information Technology to get the city verified as an app developer in app stores, and the third creating a pilot program to assist with sidewalk snow clearing in the downtown core.
The net result was a property tax increase of 2.94%, which is less than the rate of inflation, working out to an approximate $132 increase on a typical city home. The resulting operating budget is $392M, with a capital budget of $346M. There were no service cuts – additional bylaw enforcement was added, as was the new Holly library branch, and restoration of funding to the Georgian College Theatre.
The length of this meeting made up for Monday!
The Public Meetings went relatively quickly, but lots of discussion about the Condo proposal at 217 Dunlop St. E. Solution was to ask for more information in advance of the January 17 City Council Meeting. Also a slideshow explaining Harvey's concerns about 407- 419 Mapleview Drive W. – solution was to defer to the January 18 Planning Committee meeting, so there was time to make amendments.