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Barrie council talks taxes, police, and parking in last meeting before summer break
BARRIE, ONT. -- Barrie city council's last meeting before the summer break was a marathon, lasting until the stroke of midnight Tuesday.
Council voted to bump the hourly rate for waterfront parking for non-residents from $3 an hour to $10. The daily rate is jumping from $20 to $50.
Barrie is extending an olive branch to neighbouring municipalities.
An annual parking pass will cost $90 for residents of Innisfil, Springwater, Oro-Medonte, and Essa. Other out-of-towners will pay $130.
The 2021 budget was also a hot topic at Monday's meeting. The key message: it's time for the city to tighten its belt.
Council directed staff to cap next year's tax increase at 1.95 percent.
Councillor Keenan Aylwin proposed a 10 percent reduction to the police budget.
"Our social services aren't keeping up with the demand," Aylwin said. "The burden is unfairly falling on the shoulders of police. They are dealing with issues that should be dealt with by other services."
But council didn't support Aylwin's pitch, arguing a cut without a plan is reckless.
"We don't have a backup plan. I can't support this motion because I really feel that it reduces boots on the ground, and I'm not hearing (that people want) less boots on the ground," said councillor Rob Thomson.
Councillors did vote to create an anti-racism task force to work with police, school boards, social services and community groups.
Council finalized a lease agreement to allow a new restaurant, Mexican House, to move into the old Burger King at the Barrie bus terminal. There are also plans to add a boutique grocery store.