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City to ponder $9.3M in debt for key infrastructure projects

If approved, the two projects will bring the city’s total long-term debt to $20.66 million; Phase 2 of Orillia Recreation Centre also to be discussed Monday
Monday's council meeting is set for 2 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House. Pictured in this file photo are, from left, are councillors Luke Leatherdale, David Campbell and Ralph Cipolla.

Emergency services, long-term debt, Phase 2 of the Orillia Recreation Centre, and the health of Lake Simcoe are up for discussion at Monday’s city council meeting, set for 2 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House.

Emergency services

In closed session, a report regarding negotiations for a new collective agreement between the city and Orillia firefighters will be discussed.

City politicians will also discuss an agreement for services with the OPP, as its current contract is set to expire Dec. 31.

Police services cost the city $9.3 million 2023, a figure that’s anticipated to remain the same in 2024, and a one- to two-year term will be offered for the proposed agreement between the city and the OPP.

In order to remain eligible for $215,080 in grant funding for various programs, such as RIDE program enhancement funding, an amending agreement will be proposed that will continue to see police services governed by the city’s police services board. Without the police services board, the city would be ineligible for this grant funding.

Long-term debt

Council will discuss paying $9.2 million for two major infrastructure projects via debenture agreements with the Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation.

As proposed, the 2023 Laclie Street road reconstruction, at $6.8 million, will be paid over a period of no longer than 20 years, and Phase 3 of the Centennial Drive area improvements, at $2.4 million, will be paid over a period of no longer than 10 years.

If the agreement is approved, the two projects will bring the city’s total long-term debt to $20.66 million, which staff say is well within the city’s debt management limits.

As per the province, the maximum annual debt payment a municipality can incur is equal to 25 per cent of its revenue sources. With a forecast annual debt payment of $2.1 million, the city is well below the limit of $22.6 million annually.

In its report, staff say the city currently has a low level of debt compared with other municipalities in Simcoe County.

Lake Simcoe pollution

On Monday, the city’s environmental advisory committee will bring forward a report regarding rising phosphorus pollution in Lake Simcoe, requesting city council support other municipal calls for provincial action on the issue.

In 2009, the province released the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, calling for phosphorus pollution to be reduced by 55 per cent, to 44 tonnes per year.

However, a plan or budget for the initiative has yet to be developed, and pollution has risen 26 per cent between 2015 and 2020, relative to its 2009 levels.

Given development projected in the coming decades throughout the Lake Simcoe watershed, the committee is seeking council’s support to request the province achieve the 55 per cent reduction in phosphorus pollution by 2030.

Orillia Recreation Centre Phase 2

The Orillia Recreation Centre Phase 2 working group is requesting more time to bring a fully developed report to council on what should be included in Phase 2 of the facility’s development.

Originally directed to report back to council by Nov. 20, the group is requesting an extension to Jan. 29, 2024, on what should be included in Phase 2.

The full 60-page agenda for Monday’s council meeting may be found here.


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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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