The big 3 – police, public library and County of Simcoe put in budget requests to Barrie City Council

2002 city budget expected to get rubberstamped Dec. 6

Funding requests were made, and no one around the table at Barrie City Council on Monday night asked any of the city’s main service partners to go back to the budget drawing board.

For 2022, the Barrie Police Service (BPS) is seeking $58.9 million, up 2.88 per cent from the current year.

However, the service intends to hold the line on the number of sworn officers at 245, no change from 2021. But Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood said three civilian positions will be added for a total of 123.

Salaries, benefits and overtime make up 94.3 per cent of the overall police budget for next year.

“The increase to salaries and benefit costs from 2022 from 2021 is only point-five per cent, or approximately $240,000,” Greenwood told council. “As a comparison, since 2016, salaries and benefits have increased on average $1.7 million from year-to-year.”

She noted that going back to 2011, the BPS comprised 28.1 per cent of the City of Barrie’s budget. In 2021, it represented 21.8 per cent of the overall municipal budget.

Operating expenses come in at just over $5.4 million.

As a result of a provincial review of funding grants, the Chief said this has resulted in significant reductions. Grant funding for 2022 is 20 per cent lower than the funding received prior to the change the province put in place, Greenwood explained. The programs which have experienced a reduction include the court security prisoner transportation grant and the community safety and policing grant.

Meanwhile, the Barrie Public Library presented a 2022 budget of close to $9.96 million.

There was an energy in the presentation as the library plans to open its new Holly branch in the spring of next year.

“An additional $117,000 has been added to the 2022 budget to provide for a full year of operating the Holly library,” explained Austin Mitchell, chair of the library board.

Salaries and benefits make up $6.21 million of the budget, with $2.3 million in services and contracts, while programs and library materials account for $1.44 million. The library also collects $584,000 from grants and fees.

The increase the library is seeking is 2.03 per cent, which Barrie Public Library executive director Lauren Jessop said was in keeping with the direction provided by city council.

The Holly branch will be located in a plaza at 555 Essa Road to service the southwest part of the city. The library also has a branch downtown and in Painswick, in the area of Big Bay Point Road and Yonge Street.

Barrie’s share of operational and capital services to the County of Simcoe is estimated to be just over $29 million in 2022. The County of Simcoe provides a number of services to Barrie such as children’s services, long-term care homes, Ontario works, social housing, health and emergency services, and paramedics.

A recent finance department presentation to Barrie councillors contained a 3.73 per cent tax increase, which for a typical home in the city assessed at $362,000 works out to $167 more a year.

Councillors will go over the budget at general committee on Nov. 29, and city council is expected to approve the document on Dec. 6.