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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Community Groups Come Out Winners In 2019 Budget

Orillia | by Ian MacLennan  

Orillia Mayor calls asks by community groups during this year's budget talks "absolutely unusual."

Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke says the number of asks by community groups during this year's budget deliberations was "absolutely unusual."

City council passed the $58.2 million dollar budget for 2019 last night(MON),  with a 3.25% tax increase or a hike of just under $40 for every $100,000 worth of assessment.

Five community groups came to council seeking a total of over $965,000.

The largest request was $500,000 towards a CT scanner for Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital, while nearly $16,000 was sought by the Child Advocacy Centre Simcoe/Muskoka Orillia.

Clarke says during budget deliberations, he asked councillors to think about what business they were in because he feels some of these things are generally federal and provincial responsibilities.

The mayor says if council was going to make an exception then it had to be understood that it's an exception and he does not believe it will be replicated in the future.

The budget also sets aside $150,000 each for the Mariposa Folk Festival, the Sharing Place Food Bank and Mariposa House Hospice.

The food bank will use the money towards the purchase of a new facility, while Mariposa House Hospice is getting money for capital costs to open a five-bed residential hospice later this year.

Clarke says having a surplus in 2019 of between $1.5 and $2 million dollars has allowed the city to to support some of these groups.

He calls it a one-time opportunity.

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