Support for Digital Main Street and Beyond Program
At the April 14, 2020 Joint Council and Committee of the Whole meeting, the County's Economic Development Committee was directed to report back to County Council on ways in which the County can assist local businesses to remain sustainable during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. One initiative staff have identified is providing funding to the Small Business Enterprise Centres in Simcoe County to expand the Digital Main Street Program. This funding will support businesses in achieving digital transformation by helping them grow and manage their business through the adoption of digital tools and technology.
This week, Council approved $60,000 in funding to cover portions of the costs for a Digital Service Squad to provide one-on-one training to small and medium-sized businesses contributing corporate taxes and based within Simcoe County. To qualify, businesses must employ between 1 and 99 employees, be registered and/or incorporated in Ontario, and be owned by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at least 18 years of age. To sign up for Digital Service Squad assistance contact the Barrie, Simcoe County and Orillia Small Business Enterprise Centre at 705-720-2445 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre at 705-446-3355 or email@example.com.
2020 Business Capping Optional Tools
Upper tier municipalities are responsible for making tax policy decisions on an annual basis. These policy decisions include County wide tax ratios that govern all local municipal tax rates and upper tier tax rates.
The business tax capping program was originally introduced as a transition measure for the 1998 taxation year and results in some taxpayers receiving capping protection or credits, while other taxpayers pay an additional claw-back amount to fund the cost of any protection being provided. The County of Simcoe has been setting its mix of capping tools so that the greatest progress is made towards exiting the program and minimizing the costs of protection.
This week, Council approved opting out of capping for the industrial class as of 2020 and using a mix of optional tools outlined in the 2020 Pro Forma capping table for the commercial class. The County will be eligible for full opt-out of capping for the commercial class in 2021.
County of Simcoe Support for a Minister's Zoning Order to Permit a Mixed-Use Development in Oro-Medonte
On April 22, 2020, the McLean family submitted a letter to Warden Cornell and Members of County Council, requesting the County's support for their intention to pursue a MZO through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in order to facilitate a mixed-use development at 121 Penetanguishene Road in the Township of Oro-Medonte. The lands subject to the proposal include four parcels totalling approximately 54 hectares (133 acres) in area.
This week, Council voted in favour of supporting in principle the McLean family's request for a Minister's Zoning Order to permit a mixed-use development, which is proposed to consist of, among other things, a multi-unit apartment building, senior-focused detached dwellings, and a long-term care home.
Solid Waste Management Collections Update
In February 2020, the County of Simcoe implemented a new collections schedule for curbside pick-ups. Comparing the data since the start of bi-weekly collection (weekly green bin collection and garbage and recycling on alternating weeks), February to April 2020, to the same period last year, the quantity of garbage collected curbside has decreased per household by 18%, the quantity of organics collected curbside has increased by 36%, and the quantity of recycling has remained relatively the same. These results are interpreted by staff to be due to the change in collection frequency that started in February and COVID-19 impacts of residents staying home. Garbage tag sales, which also indicate whether current limits are being exceeded, are down to 1.1 tags per household for January to April 2020 over the same period in 2019.
This week, Council received the Collections Update, which concluded that the decrease in the amount of garbage collected curbside since the implementation of bi-weekly collection confirms that, in response to questions at the April 28, 2020 Committee of the Whole meeting, the existing two bag limit is sufficient to service the majority of residents in the County of Simcoe.
Timber Sales Results - Spring 2020
The County of Simcoe has long recognized that forests and their many benefits and resources are essential to the long-term well-being of our environment, communities and economy. The sustainable management of our forests is therefore critical, not only to balance competing uses in the short term, but to ensure that the many benefits of our forests are available for generations to come. Good long-term planning is key to ensuring continued growth and success, which is anchored by the Simcoe County Forest 20-year Forest Management Plan.
This week, Council received a report on spring timber sales totalling almost $450,000. Revenues result in a net operating balance surplus which is applied to the Forestry Reserve to be reinvested into forestry operations and the acquisition of additional forest lands.
Social Services Relief Fund & Reaching Home – Update
The County has worked closely with the homelessness services sector and continues to be in discussion with a range of stakeholders including front line workers, service providers, and the public, to address the emerging needs across the County with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the federal and provincial governments have provided the County with additional funding under Reaching Home-Covid (RH-C) and the Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) respectively. To protect our most vulnerable residents, the County has implemented activities in the areas of homelessness sheltering and prevention, food security, and housing stabilization, including short-term planning for the most expeditious solutions to prevent the spread of the virus, and longer-term planning for stability.
This week, Council received a report outlining the steps taken to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable populations are supported during the initial stages of the pandemic as well as medium-term plans to maintain safety of the vulnerable population.