City council approves 3.13 per cent tax increase over 2016

Infrastructure levy approved to tackle growing problem

Guelph, Ont., December 7, 2016 – Earlier this evening, Council approved a $222.9 million operating budget, a $62.2 million capital budget and a one per cent levy dedicated to infrastructure in 2017.

“With this year’s budget, Council has grabbed the bull by the horns when it comes to the real challenges of fixing and replacing our aging infrastructure. We are putting the pieces in place to ensure we have safe and reliable public infrastructure, today and for future generations,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “At the same time, we have kept affordability for taxpayers at the forefront, approving a base operating budget that is 2.13 per cent—one of the lowest operating budgets to come to Council in several years.”

The total increase for a household based on a home valued at $315,764 is $104.79.

  • $71.31 for the base operating budget levy of $222.9 million
  • $33.48 for the dedicated infrastructure levy of one per cent

This increase is based on the average household assessment for 2016 and the City’s 2016 tax policy.

Included in the approved budget are:

  • 12.72 per cent or $27,289,295 transfer to capital from the operating budget;
  • Seven expansions at a cost of $891,000 with a 0.4 per cent tax impact, creating 10 full-time equivalent positions;
  • $77.1 million for Guelph’s Local Boards and Shared Services—Guelph Police Service, Guelph Public Library, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health; and
  • $487,000 levy for the Downtown Guelph Business Association.

The 2017 budget is a realistic plan that continues to build a stable financial foundation for the community while providing the city room to grow. The budget enables the City to focus on delivering service and value to the community; services such as fire and emergency response, snow removal, public transportation, curbside collection, parks and public spaces, recreation programs and seasonal events, community centres and museums, public art and street lighting.

The City’s dedicated infrastructure levy will address the historical lack of savings for infrastructure projects. Creating this levy ensures funds are allocated to the City’s infrastructure needs, and are not used to fund operating costs.

“Tonight Council has made it clear—they want to be a catalyst for change,” says Derrick Thomson, chief administrative officer. “It will take continued years of good financial decisions and commitment to keep us on the path of eliminating our infrastructure backlog and reaching a sustainable level of funding for our capital program.”

The dedicated infrastructure levy has been approved at one per cent of the total approved budget for 2017. Through the budget process each year, Council will reconfirm the levy amount. Staff will be reporting back to Council in Q2 of 2017 with recommendations regarding the disbursement of these funds between Infrastructure Renewal and City Building projects.

Additional information

On November 3, City Council approved non-tax-supported operating and capital budgets for Guelph’s Water, Wastewater and Stormwater services, Ontario Building Code Administration and Provincial Offences Court Administration.

When the tax-supported levy increases are combined with the changes to Guelph’s water and wastewater rates and the new stormwater fee, the total increase for a household based on a home valued at $315,764 is $150.47. This increase is based on the average household assessment for 2016 and the City’s 2016 tax policy.

In the coming days, the City will detail the budget highlights on guelph.ca/budget. The approved 2017 budget will be compiled and published online in the coming months.

The impact on the average household is subject to change with the approval of the City’s 2017 tax policy. Once this information has been finalized, the impact on the average household will be updated on guelph.ca/budget.

For more information

James Krauter, Acting City Treasurer
General Manager Finance
519-822-1260 extension 2334
james.krauter@guelph.ca