Orillia city council has approved a $58.2-million operating budget for 2019.
At their meeting Monday evening, city councillors approved a budget they say includes strategic investments in information technology, winter control operations to improve service delivery and $30 million in capital spending that focuses on infrastructure, fleet improvements and planning for growth.
According to a news release issued by the city, municipal property taxes will rise to 3.25 per cent, an increase of $39.65 for every $100,000 worth of assessment.
Council has also raised residential stormwater rates by $1.06 per 30-day period and industrial and commercial stormwater rates by $11.61 per 30-day period for 2019 and 2020.
According to the release, council also approved an increase to water and wastewater rates. The average Orillia home using 160 cubic metres of water will see an increase of approximately $45, or six per cent.
The 2019 budget includes a growth assessment of approximately $1.2 million. This is $450,000 higher than budgeted in the previous year.
Council has also contributed an additional $1.2 million to reserves, representing 2.15 per cent of the overall budget.
“Replenishing the city’s reserves funds existing capital projects and saves for future capital projects,” the release reads.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that Orillia residents want us to invest in core services and this budget certainly does that by adding resources to our winter control operations, ensuring our fleet is in good working condition now and in the future, and addressing essential infrastructure needs,” said Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke in the release.
The 2019 budget includes adding four tradespeople to improve winter control operations who will be cross-trained to work in the collection and distribution division for water and wastewater operations in the off-season.
According to the city, council has also made strategic investments in information technology to enhance cybersecurity and to improve service delivery.
Other budget highlights include a $2.7-million investment from the city to widen West Ridge Boulevard from Bass Lake Sideroad East to Hunter Valley Road.
The city has also allocated $6.5 million to reconstruct Front Street South from Queen Street East to Colborne Street East. Officials say this is the first phase of the project that will see the reconstruction of the Front Street and Neywash Street corridor from Queen Street East to Laclie Street.
Council has also budgeted $3.6 million to servicing the Inch Farm lands.
The city has also allocated money to support various community groups including:
- $15,940 to the Child Advocacy Centre Simcoe/Muskoka-Orillia
- $150,000 over three years to the Mariposa Folk Festival
- $500,000 to the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital toward a new CT scanner
- $150,000 toward Mariposa House Hospice capital costs
- $150,000 to the Sharing Place Food Bank for the purchase of a new facility.