Media Release – December 10, 2020
Innisfil, ON – Last night, Innisfil Town Council approved the 2021-2022 Budget with a blended tax increase of 0% for 2021 and 1% for 2022. The average Innisfil home valued at $446,363 will see an annual tax increase of $0 in 2021 and an estimated $44.57 in 2022. The approved Capital Budget is $50,922,015 for 2021 and $25,493,482 for 2022, ensuring that critical infrastructure continues to be added to meet the community’s rapid growth.
“Since the pandemic first hit our community, we’ve taken significant measures to protect our residents and keep costs low,” said Mayor Lynn Dollin. “Throughout the budget process, our mission was to lessen the tax burden on our residents while supporting the needs of our growing community. I’m proud of this Council for delivering a historic budget while balancing priorities heard from residents with the financial impacts of an evolving health crisis.”
The approved budget delivers value for every tax dollar collected for the Town and its shared service partners, including Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, Innisfil Fire & Rescue Services and South Simcoe Police. Part of every tax dollar collected also supports the County of Simcoe (social services, waste collection, paramedic services, etc.) and the Province of Ontario (education).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the importance of building an even more resilient Innisfil,” said Chief Administrative Officer Jason Reynar. “Staff worked hard to meet Council’s budget direction to find cost savings and efficiencies while maintaining core services for the community.”
In order to achieve these historically low tax rates, the two-year budget includes the following measures:
- Pausing the annual 1% increase to the Capital Levy until 2023;
- A reduction to the volunteer firefighter budget that will result in the phasing out of five currently filled positions through attrition, while maintaining response levels;
- No new permanent positions with the exception of three contract positions that will be converted to full-time; and
- A freeze on salary step increases for non-union employees in 2021.
This budget accounts for pressing priorities heard from Innisfil residents during a major community outreach initiative, including: mental health resources, access to reliable information, economic security, employment, and community building with safe guidelines. While there will be a significant investment into road improvements, trails, facility repairs and other infrastructure, the following budget highlights will respond to needs identified through the Town’s Community Needs Assessment:
Create more opportunities for engagement – The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for seniors as they face new levels of isolation and stress. The development of a cross-functional Seniors Engagement Strategy will ensure that seniors remain engaged members of the community, and that they stay socially connected, healthy and well. A Community Neighbourhood Strategy will create a framework for supporting community-led neighbourhood level initiatives to improve community connectivity, safety and civic engagement.
Upgrades for a more digital Innisfil – The budget will support a digital transformation with initiatives that include installing public Wi-Fi in popular public areas throughout Innisfil and addressing residential internet in underserved areas. The municipality’s website will get a revamp to improve access to information and digital services.
Expand community offerings – Through collaboration with key stakeholders and new partnerships with non-profit organizations, access to social and community services will be improved to support the community.
Bring the new Town Square and community programming to life – COVID-19 has highlighted our community’s need for more outdoor, programmable space. By developing and providing programming for all seasons, community members can have safe access to socialization, fitness, arts and culture and more while staying safely outdoors to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The new Town Square in Alcona directly connects to the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, an important community hub for programming initiatives.
All final budget documents will be posted at Innisfil.ca/budget.