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Barrie mayor Alex Nuttall marks first year in office

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Barrie Mayor Alex Nuttall marked his first full term in office on Thursday, reflecting on the City's accomplishments so far.

Focusing on the City's strategic plan, Mayor Nuttall spoke of several steps Barrie has taken to create a thriving community.

Most notably, the City has committed to achieving the province's housing target of 23,000 homes by 2031.

Within one year, Mayor Nuttall said the City had created 1850 housing starts, above the annual provincial mandate.

"We certainly do look forward to making sure that the City of Barrie and the surrounding area has all the jobs it needs," Nuttall said.

Part of the City Council's plan to spur job development is by expanding its employment lands.

The City had previously gone into boundary negotiation talks with Springwater and Oro-Medonte Townships for those lands, but Springwater ended those talks on Wednesday.

Alex Nuttall has informed the province of that direction and has opened discussions about possibly stepping in.

"We think we have a plan that fits creating $8 million in new tax revenue in each one," he said. "That's about a 30 percent increase in their total budgets for operating purposes."

The City council's first term was not without controversy.

This summer, Barrie backed away from proposed bylaw changes that would have made it illegal for charitable groups and residents to distribute food, clothes, tents, and tarps to unhoused people on public property.

That ban also included panhandling.

"We can't always avoid friction. I'm not willing to give up on safety and security in the City of Barrie," Nuttall said. "I'm not willing to write off parks as places that kids can't go off and play. That's what they were designed for. That's who they were designed for."

The City also announced that it would list three properties on Worsley Street, Sperling Drive and Dean Avenue for sale, highlighting all as surplus.

It estimates a revenue coup of $35 million from the sales, on top of additional tax dollars.

The City of Barrie will move into its budget talks starting next week.

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