2013 budget designed to strengthen how the City works

Guelph City Council approves 2.97 per cent increase over 2012

GUELPH, ON, December 5, 2012 – City Council approved a $185,187,614 million operating budget and $51,470,300 million capital budget for next year. This represents a 2.97 per cent increase for Guelph taxpayers; an average increase of $97 per household valued at $292,000.

The 2013 operating and capital budgets are aligned with the City’s 2012-16 strategic plan. The plan sets a path for Guelph to adapt and respond to the needs of a growing, more complex community. Next year’s budget allows the City to deliver on its plan to improve public services and build a thriving future for Guelph.

It’s a transformative time for the organization and the community as another 55,000 people are expected to come and live in Guelph over the next 20 years. Responsible fiscal policies and continued focus on cost avoidance and system optimization strengthen Guelph’s financial position as the city continues to grow.

“The investments we make today are designed to ensure current and future Guelph taxpayers receive affordable, efficient municipal services and enjoy the highest possible quality of life,” said Al Horsman, chief financial officer.

The 2013 budget allows the City to continue delivering high-quality services, setting aside funds to maintain aging roads, water and wastewater systems, buildings, parks, trails trees and other infrastructure, and investing in strategic initiatives designed to strengthen how the City works.

With energy costs increasing by 1.9 million over 2012, City Council voted to invest $1.45 in the Corporate Energy Management Plan as part of next year’s budget. The plan allows the City to avoid future costs as energy prices continue to increase. The City expects to reduce costs by at least $83,000 next year and $166,000 per year thereafter.

With the budget approved the City will begin implementing its Corporate Technology Plan to provide easier, quicker access to City information, more opportunities for community engagement and open government principles to enhance transparency and accountability.

“By investing $1,486,500 in 2013, the City can modernize internal systems, deliver public services better and move toward real-time government,” said Al Horsman, chief financial officer.

Council also approved a $137,800 investment in the Community Wellbeing Plan—a 10-year action plan for individuals, community partners and the City to work together to create a community where people can live life to the fullest.

The budget will allow the City to initiate the business plan for Guelph Municipal Holding Company to improve asset management, create opportunities to generate revenue and explore funding models designed to reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Other budget highlights

  • Elimination of Christmas tree collection service for a savings of $22,000 and, in the coming weeks, the City will promote alternative options for residents to dispose of Christmas trees
  • Continuation of residential sidewalk snow plow service at a cost of $100,000
  • Three per cent increase to most recreation fees to offset the increasing costs associated with delivering programs and services
  • Five per cent increase to parking rates and fines to help cover the increasing cost of maintaining lots and other parking infrastructure
  • Addition of six adult crossing guards and a crossing guard coordinator to address safety concerns in high-traffic school zones
  • Addition of a full-time fleet safety and efficiency trainer to enhance ongoing driver training programs and increase fuel efficiency
  • Investment of $260,000 to implement Guelph’s Urban Forest Management Plan to preserve, protect and enhance the City’s natural infrastructure
  • Investment of $3.7 million to purchase the land needed to redevelop the site on Baker Street site in preparation for a new main library
  • Investment of $150,000 from within the 2013 capital budget to prepare Eastview Park for development in 2014
  • Establishment of a $500,000 efficiency target to be achieved through process improvements, partnerships and other savings throughout the organization

The 2013 operating and capital budget includes $69.3 million to cover operating and capital costs for local boards and shared services budget (Guelph Public Library Board, Public Health, Social Services and Social Housing, Downtown Guelph Business Association and Guelph Police Services Board).

On October 24 Council approved $82.8 million operating and capital budgets Guelph’s Water and Wastewater Services, Ontario Building Code Administration and Provincial Offences Court Administration.

Form more information

Albert Horsman
Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer
Finance and Enterprise Services
T 519-822-1260 x 5606