Orillia City Council approves budget with zero percent increase to residential property taxes

City dug into reserve funds to make it happe

Orillia property tax bills will not see a bump in 2021 now that city council has given the okay to budget with a zero percent increase.

The City’s $62.4 million operating budget may have overshot the zero percent increase target except for a contribution of $603,734 out of the city’s Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve. The funds were set aside for just such an occasion. The city points out the 2021 budget excludes the impact from COVID-19 in order to stabilize future budgets. It was recommended any budget shortfalls be covered through provincial or federal subsidies or by the city’s own reserves.

“We know how difficult this past year has been for many, and it is our hope that a zero percent 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.”

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 Mississauga Street East to Brant Street East and extension/reconstruction of Mississauga 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.