It is official: the Barrie 2018 Operating and Capital budget got the go-ahead at Monday night’s council meeting. The increase over last year stands at 2.75% which means an added $114 on top of the tax bill for the average $334,000 Barrie home. The budget didn’t pass without a few minor tweaks; an extra $15,000 was added to buy new picnic tables and similar furniture for Barrie’s waterfront parks, while $13,000 will go towards signage denoting historic neighbourhoods. Both additions to the budget are financed out of reserve funds and don’t impact the bottom line for taxpayers in the city. “This is a lean budget,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “But our staff and Council have managed to develop a budget that still focuses on improving the quality of our services. I believe we’ve struck a balance between the need to continue investing in the bridges, roads and other existing infrastructure to maintain our modern community, while planning for future growth. This balance minimizes the total increase to the taxpayer while allowing our City the resources to address our growth needs.” One of the key players in the budget is the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, in this case Michael Prowse, who actually went from councillor to CAO as the budget process was ongoing; it let him see both sides of the coin.
While he did come midway into the budget process as CAO, he says previous council experience let him hit the ground running.
Prowse took on the role as CAO about six months ago, leading to the appointment of Steve Trotter to the Ward 6 seat.