City faces additional budget pressures due to province’s ‘funding and program changes’

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Barrie residents can share their thoughts about what the City should be spending their money on in 2020 through an online tool, the Budget Allocator.
The allocator will allow residents to offer budget opinions regarding increases, decreases or maintaining current levels of services and taxation. Comments can also be left.
The City operates more than 60 services and programs, including public transit, waste collection, fire and emergency service, roads and parks maintenance, and recreation programs. Through this tool, residents can learn more about each service area and how budgeting changes can impact service delivery.
This year, the City is facing additional budget pressures due to a number of funding and program changes introduced by the provincial government, says CAO Michael Prowse.
“These include funding cuts to public health and changes to the Development Charges Act. There is only one taxpayer. When cuts happen at the provincial level or services are downloaded to municipalities, local governments are left with the bill.”
According to the City, municipalities like Barrie take in just nine cents of every tax dollar raised in Ontario, while the province and the feds receive 44 cents and 47 cents respectively. Municipalities own 57 per cent of the capital infrastructure, while the province owns 41 per cent of infrastructure and the federal government, two per cent.
Examples of capital infrastructure owned by the City include roads, bridges, stormwater drains and sewers, streetlights, sidewalks, community centres, water treatment facilities, etc.
A number of funding and program changes enacted by the province are “adding pressure to the City’s tax base through its service partners,” according to a City spokesperson. Examples include:
Police: Provincial funding reductions were imposed on core programs including Court Security Prisoner Transportation Grant and the Policing Effectiveness and Modernization Grant. 
Health Unit: The provincial budget indicates that the proportion of funding for public health from municipalities will increase to 30 per cent from the previous 25 per cent.
County of Simcoe: The City receives paramedic, social housing, long-term care, child services, and Ontario Works services from the County of Simcoe.  The 2019 provincial budget contains numerous changes to funding agreements between the province and the County that will result in a larger proportion of costs for these services being borne at the municipal level.
The 2020 Budget will outline the City’s plan to make up for the provincial funding shortfalls to ensure vital front-line services are delivered while minimizing the impact to local tax payers. Residents are encouraged to share feedback about their priorities through the Budget Allocator tool.

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