County approves budget containing zero percent property tax increase

County to dig into reserves to make sure property tax rates don't grow this year

The County of Simcoe has given the green light to a $572 million budget that contains no increases for residents on the county portion of their property tax bill.

While expenditures increased from 2020 to 2021, the zero percent increase will remain but the county will have to dig into some of its reserves. “2020 has been a challenging year for our residents, while most health experts believe that the impacts from the pandemic will continue throughout 2021,” said County Warden George Cornell. “Many County services are essential services, and the demands for our programs have increased during the pandemic. We commend our staff for identifying innovative and responsible ways to address growth and urgent COVID-19 needs, while ensuring that residents don’t face any additional tax increases from the County level.”

The $572 million budget will cover county-provided services such as transit and social housing, while also paying for infrastructure projects and maintenance. Highlights include:

  • LTC – Homes and Seniors Services $78 million
  • Paramedic Services $56 million
  • Children Services $49 million
  • Social Housing $69 million
  • Ontario Works $79 million
  • Transportation and Engineering $48 million
  • Solid Waste Management $94 million

The county budget plays a part in its lower tier municipalities’ budgets as well, including in Barrie. The city contributes funding towards such shared services as paramedics and social housing. The city’s budget is still in the preparation stage, and will take the recently approved county budget into account.