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Orillia Council approves 2021 budget with zero per cent increase

Posted on Wednesday December 09, 2020

Keeping the financial impacts and challenges experienced by Orillia residents during the COVID-19 pandemic top of mind, Orillia Council approved a 2021 budget with a zero per cent tax rate increase. 

A contribution of $603,734 from the City’s Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve was used to offset the increases to the 2021 budget in in order to achieve the zero per cent increase. The 2021 budget excludes the impact from COVID-19 to help stabilize future year budgets and avoid the budget fluctuating as a result of significant unknowns during the pandemic. It is recommended that any budget shortfalls will be absorbed by either provincial/federal subsidies, such as the Safe Restart Grant, or by the City’s Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve. 

“After much deliberation, Council was able to deliver a 2021 budget that continues to offer the same level of service from previous years with no increase to the financial impact on Orillia residents. We know how difficult this past year has been for many, and it is our hope that a zero per cent increase to your municipal taxes demonstrates our commitment to helping you and your family weather the storm,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “As a municipality, our role is to provide services to citizens and build infrastructure necessary for a vibrant community and we are very limited in what we can provide in terms of economic and social support. Council continues to make strategic investments in our infrastructure to further economic growth, which will help Orillia emerge even stronger following the pandemic.” 

The City’s $62.4 million operating budget includes the City’s $7.7 million health and social services contract with the County of Simcoe, which includes a $1.2 million increase in 2021 predominantly attributed to COVID-19; the $8.5 million Ontario Provincial Police contract; continued investment in information technology, and maintaining the level of winter maintenance and implementation of the city-wide LED lighting upgrades. 

The City’s $28 million capital budget, which is funded from the capital tax levy, various reserves and grant funding, focuses on the asset management of numerous municipal facilities and public spaces and ongoing investment in transit, road and water/wastewater infrastructure. 

Highlights of the 2021 budget include:

  • An additional $46,400 in one-time funding was approved from the COVID-19 Social and Economic Recovery Fund to be utilized for all nine outdoor rinks, including a new rink at J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park.
  • Continued investment in information technology to further Orillia’s delivery of online services and to automate processes internally.  
  • $1.2 million in assessment growth revenue (subject to final numbers for assessment growth from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation).
  • $20,000 for a New Resident Welcome and Information Program, which includes one-time vouchers for new residents to experience some of the City’s municipal amenities, such as the Leacock Museum and Orillia Recreation Centre.
  • Grant to Information Orillia for $25,000.
  • $10.6 million for Centennial Drive Area Improvements, which includes the realignment of Centennial Drive/Canice Street corridor from Mississaga Street East to Brant Street East and extension/reconstruction of Mississaga Street East, Coldwater Street and Colborne Street East  between Front Street and the waterfront area, and construction of a new sanitary sewer pump station.
  • $50,000 for detailed design and construction documents for the proposed improvements to the Terry Fox Circle. Staff will present previous reports and past studies regarding the Terry Fox Circle to Council in January 2021.
  • Annual road resurfacing of nine local roads in the amount of $854,000.
  • Transit terminal/parking structure design and tender preparation in the amount of $600,000.
  • $120,000 to support the development of the City of Orillia’s Climate Change Action Plan, which includes defining greenhouse gas reduction targets and prioritizing actions to be implemented by the City.
  • City Centre renovations to improve public facing counters and meet security and regulatory requirements in the amount of $175,000.
  • Couchiching Beach Park Greenhouse and Maintenance Building Replacement in the amount of $750,000. 

For more information on the 2021 budget, visit orillia.ca/budget. 

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at orillia.ca. 

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Jim Lang
City Treasurer
705-325-2144
jlang@orillia.ca

Jennifer Ruff
Director of Business Development and Communications
705-325-8929
705-238-9209 (cell)
jruff@orillia.ca

© City of Orillia, 50 Andrew Street South, Suite 300, Orillia, Ontario, L3V 7T5, Tel: (705) 325-1311, Fax: (705) 325-5178, Email: info@orillia.ca

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