Guelph, Ont., July 21, 2016 – Work to develop the City’s 2017 budget is underway. From an internal kick-off to a capital budget information session, City staff and Council are working together to create a budget that provides a solid financial foundation for the delivery of outstanding services for the community.
“Building a municipal budget is difficult. We need to balance the delivery of services the community needs with available resources,” says Guelph CAO Derrick Thomson. “This year we’ll present a budget that is a realistic financial plan. It will enable us to live within our means today—while taking care of what we own—and plan for the future.”
At the July 13 capital budget information session, City staff explored the funding challenges Guelph and other municipalities are facing. Options to fund capital infrastructure were discussed and staff will bring a recommendation back to Council this fall for consideration.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat this: this will probably be the most difficult budget year that Council will face. We are at a tipping point due to the real financial pressures the City is facing. At the same time, Council recognizes that citizens and businesses have very real financial pressures too,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “Guelph now has a $165 million infrastructure deficit that needs to be addressed, and yet citizens want new facilities such as a south end community centre and a new downtown library. These are the difficult decisions that lay before us, and Council is looking forward to hearing from the public throughout this process.”
Councillor June Hofland, Chair of the City’s Corporate Services Committee, adds, “Our focus will be on continuing to build a solid financial foundation for Guelph, while funding much-needed services and infrastructure to ensure our city remains a great place to live.”
Changes will be seen throughout the City’s 2017 recommended budget including the transfer of stormwater management to a user-fee service which was approved by Council on March 21.
Build-a-budget – operating budget
This year’s budget will be presented to Council and the public using the ‘build-a-budget’ model.
Staff will recommend a base budget for the tax-supported operating budget that includes annual operating costs, costs associated with prior Council decisions and budget adjustments to reflect historical spending patterns.
Council will then ‘build’ the rest of the budget by adding and removing projects and programs of work.
Once combined with the City’s capital budget and the budgets of local boards and shared services, Council will approve the overall tax levy for 2017.
Have your say
Residents are invited to review the staff-recommended budget, address Council in person and participate in conversations online. More details about the ways residents can participate in budget conversations will be available in the fall.
All budget Council meetings and public delegations will be held October through December.
All budget documents and related information will be posted on guelph.ca/budget.
2016 Property Assessment Update
On July 11, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) advised Council that the average residential property assessment will increase for the 2017-2020 taxation years. An increase in property assessment does not mean property taxes will increase. Generally, if your total property assessment value for 2017-2020 taxation years has increased by approximately 23 per cent, your property taxes may increase. If the increase is less than 23 per cent, your property taxes will likely remain the same or in some instances decrease. Residents can expect to see assessment notices from MPAC after July 25.
To find out how your property taxes are calculated, and to learn the relationship between property values and taxes, watch the short video by MPAC posted on guelph.ca/tax.
For more information
Derrick Thomson, Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2221