The county has crunched the numbers, and that means a two per cent tax increase in 2019.
The 2019 County of Simcoe draft budget was presented to county council on Tuesday, outlining how the county intends to spend its budget in 2019. The proposed tax increase for taxpayers across the county is two per cent, which works out to an increase of $5.70 per $100,000 of MPAC assessment.
“I like the way it went. It was very collaborative,” said newly minted Warden George Cornell after the talks concluded for the day. “It’s important to have a good discussion about the items as it’s a significant budget.”
The total county budget for 2019 is $550 million.
“There’s a significant amount of services we provide to our residents in the county, and it’s important that council takes the time to go through it,” he said.
Cornell points to the 15 new members of county council who sat at the table for this round of talks.
“The budget process allows you to (develop a greater) understanding of the services that are provided here at the county, and the level of services that we provide, the costs associated with that, and the benefits our residents get,” said Cornell.
“There was some good discussion over a few items, but they were able to be accommodated, and now we’re at a point where we’re able to recommend the budget to council on Jan. 22.”
Lively discussion occurred during Tuesday’s meeting about the possibility of adding yard waste collection in the summer months. Previously, there had just been a spring and fall date annually.
At the end of the day, councillors voted to add two additional yard waste pick-up dates in the summer months of 2019, at a cost of $200,000.
During talks Tuesday, some Collingwood-specific projects were mentioned.
Sunset Manor will get $233,000 for window replacements, flooring, mechanical lifts, HVAC cooling units and new tub and lift. Funding for these projects will be shared with the Cities of Barrie and Orillia and partially through donations and reserves, meaning there is no net expenditure at the county level.
Sunset Village in Collingwood will get $60,000 for the replacement of the exterior sliding doors and operating expenses. Funding for this project is coming from donations and reserves, meaning there is no net expenditure at the county level.
The Collingwood Ontario Works Hub is planned to be moved into the main floor of the new housing complex on Second Street in Collingwood. The new build will allow Ontario Works to operate in a service hub environment, which will allow increased levels of access and convenience for many clients and tenants, and also create strong partnerships with community agencies. Moving the hub comes with a county budget line item of $204,000.
There's $3.4 million slotted in the budget for the two affordable housing buildings on Second Street in Collingwood. They are slated for completion in the spring/summer 2019.
The two per cent tax increase for residents would represent $3.3 million in additional funding for the county coffers.
Barrie and Orillia residents do not pay taxes at the county level, as they are separated cities. Instead, the municipalities allot a specific amount in their own budgets to pay for the use of some county services.
For the separated City of Barrie, their contribution to use some county services (Long Term Care & Seniors Services, Paramedic Services, Children and Community Services, Ontario Works, Social Housing Non-Profit, Simcoe County Housing Corporation, the county museum and archives) comes with a price tag of $22.5 million for 2019, an increase of 9.5 per cent over 2018 numbers.
For the separated City of Orillia, their contribution to use some county services (Long Term Care & Seniors Services, Paramedic Services, Children and Community Services, Ontario Works, Social Housing Non-Profit and the Simcoe County Housing Corporation) will come with a price tag of $5.6 million for 2019, an increase of 2.5 per cent over 2018.
The draft budget was referred to the Jan. 22 regular county council meeting for adoption.
Total county budget ($550 million) breakdown by department
Administrative and Statutory Support - $37 million
Paramedic Services - $73.2 million
Planning and Economic Development - $5.1 million
Social Housing - $90 million
Transportation and Engineering – $68.6 million
Solid Waste Management - $45.9 million
General Municipal Services - $28.1 million
Long Term Care and Seniors Services - $60.1 million
Transit - $7 million
Children and Community Services - $62.3 million
Ontario Works - $72.8 million