Trails Connecting Communities Program
The Trails Connecting Communities Program (TCCP) was established in 2009, to assist municipalities in the development of active transportation and recreational opportunities, with a focus on enhancing and/or expanding trail networks for non-motorized uses. The TCCP operates through a 50/50 matching structure, whereby County funds are matched with local municipal investment. Since its inception, the TCCP has provided over $1,673,608 in funding to local municipalities to assist in the completion of 67 trail and active transportation projects.
Council reviewed a summary of the trails projects and initiatives completed in 2018, and those proposed to be funded in 2019. The 2019 TCCP budget is $250,000. In the first quarter of 2019, the County received 10 municipal trail applications, all of which were determined to have met the program's eligibility criteria. These projects result in a commitment of approximately $257,500. Council approved that the funding for the proposed 2019 TCCP trails be allocated from the Planning, Economic Development and Transit budget and the remaining $7,500 from Economic and Planning reserve.
Building Hope Project, Orillia
Building Hope, Orillia, operating under the legal umbrella of the Orillia Christian Centre, is working to create a Community Services Hub, located at 75 Queen Street East, Orillia. The Community Services Hub will include 40 emergency shelter beds for men, women and youth, mental health support beds, medical room and community kitchen, as well as a separate 20-unit Supportive Housing Project for people who have experienced homelessness.
Approximately $11.3 million is currently available during construction through a combination of government funds and fundraising. However, based on a project budget of $14 million for both the homelessness hub and supportive housing phases, there is a gap of $2.7 million in funds. County Council voted in favour of providing Building Hope with a forgivable loan of $226,000, funded through Home for Good (HFG) Program administration fees, and a $2.5 million interest-free repayable loan during construction, to be repaid within three years of project completion, which will enable the project to proceed.
Security Guard Services - Barrie Ontario Works Office
The Ontario Works office, which is located at 136 Bayfield Street, Barrie, and serves a caseload of 3,047 benefit units, is increasingly dealing with challenging behaviours and incidents with individuals entering the office and common area.
Council voted in favour of the procurement of full-time security guard services on pilot basis for a period of one year, with a report back to Council on the outcome of this initiative. Projected annual costing to contract security guard services will be shared 50/50 with the Province, and further cost shared with the cities of Barrie and Orillia.
2019 Long Term Financial Plan and 2020 High Level Budget Assumptions
Council approved the Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) - a forecast based on previously approved strategic directions along with any new initiatives approved by Council. The LTFP has been developed for both the operating and capital programs based on the forecasted needs for each program and/or service delivery areas. The LTFP is a high-level view, based on known or evidence based assumptions and is updated annually or as significant events occur.
Council also provided initial direction for the development of the 2020 budget draft, with final approval scheduled to take place in November 2019. Based on the known Provincial funding details, Council approved the 2020 Budget Assumptions and Directions, including a proposed 2.0% tax levy increase. Adjustments will be made as new detailed information from the Province is provided and staff will consider efficiencies and areas to further reduce costs as the budget process continues for 2020.
Ontario Health Teams
Bill 74: The People's Health Care Act, 2019, received Royal Assent April 18, 2019. The Act contains major changes related to health system transformation including the establishment, mandate and powers of the new super agency, Ontario Health, and the integrated delivery systems the government is proposing called Ontario Health Team (OHTs).
OHTs will be responsible for providing a co-ordinated continuum of care for all but the most specialized conditions and procedures, such as transplant or neurosurgery.
County staff have been engaged in the completion of OHT readiness assessments by South Simcoe, Couchiching, Central Simcoe, South Georgian Bay and Central Ontario Regional Specialized Care for Vulnerable Populations. The County is also represented on the North Simcoe Sub-Region Planning Table, which is planning to submit its readiness assessment in fall 2019. It is the County's understanding that it is the government's intention to select five submissions from the initial group of readiness assessments submitted in May 2019, with the plan to have 50 OHTs operating within the province over the next few years.
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