News Release

Proposed Operating Budget maintains existing service levels

Proposed 3.05 per cent increase reflects increased cost of doing business

Guelph, ON, February 25, 2015 – The City has released its final budget document for Council and community to review. The proposed 2015 Tax-supported Operating Budget and Forecast will be presented by staff on March 5. Residents are encouraged to attend the presentation prior to delegating on March 11, 2015.

The $206,303,226 proposed budget reflects the City’s plan to sustain the delivery of exceptional services while remaining affordable and accountable to residents. The budget includes a 2.56 per cent base budget increase and a 0.49 per cent investment to enable the City to meet increased demands.

The total 3.05 per cent increase represents approximately a $99 annual increase for the average household with a property valued at $301,770. Combined with the approved changes in Guelph’s water and wastewater rates, the potential impact on the average household is $130 in 2015.

“The City has developed a proposed budget that meets the community’s and organization’s needs for the coming year,” says Al Horsman, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services and CFO. “While the City has ensured the recommended investments are necessary, the proposed budget does not account for all increased demands placed on the organization from growth.”

For the second year, the City has used a predictable multi-year formula and model for determining the tax levy impact. The predictability formula combines inflationary pressures, volume or demand for City services, efficiencies and productivity improvements to provide a recommended maximum tax levy. For 2015, the maximum tax levy increase defined by the formula is 3.71 per cent; however the City is recommending a tax levy increase of 3.05 per cent.

“Municipalities are under pressure to do more with less,” says Horsman. “This year, the City’s focus is to maintain services—do the same with less. The increase in base budget accounts for inflation and the increased cost of purchased good and services. To increase or add new services would require additional investments and an increase to the tax levy.”

Coming up next

February 25 – Proposed Capital Budget presentation
February 26 – Proposed Local Boards and Shared Services
March 5 – Proposed Operating Budget presentation
March 11 – Public delegation night
March 25 – Council deliberates and approves Operating and Capital budgets
March 31 – additional meeting for budget approvals if necessary

All meetings will begin at 6 p.m. and be held in Council Chambers, City Hall, 1 Carden Street.

Follow the City’s budget news on guelph.ca/budget , Twitter ( @cityofguelph , #GuelphBudget) and facebook.com/cityofguelph.

For more information

Al Horsman
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer/CFO
Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services
519-822-1260 extension 5606
al.horsman@guelph.ca

Mark Amorosi
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Corporate Services
519-822-1260 extension 2281
mark.amorosi@guelph.ca 

City asks residents and businesses to protect indoor plumbing

Guelph, ON, February 24, 2015—Ongoing extreme cold temperatures are causing both City–owned water services and household plumbing to freeze. The City has installed approximately 30 temporary water lines since the beginning of February.

Unlike last year’s problems with frozen City–owned water services, private household plumbing is a more common problem this year, especially where uninsulated household pipes are exposed to cold temperatures such as in cellars and basements.

“This year we’re getting as many calls about pipes freezing inside people’s homes as we are about frozen City services. We’re working as fast as we can to ensure all customers have access to water,” said Peter Busatto, general manager of the City’s Water Services department. “People can protect their household plumbing by keeping pipes warm and insulating them.”

The City’s website offers tips for preventing and dealing with frozen household pipes such as keeping the areas where pipes run warm by opening doors and cupboards, and by insulating pipes. If a household pipe does freeze, the City suggests calling a plumber for assistance, or using a space heater or hair dryer to slowly warm up the frozen section.

The City is working with all affected households and businesses to ensure continued access to water. Crews are working hard to thaw service lines or install temporary water services where possible, and in some cases it may take until mid-April for some services to thaw.

Record cold February temperatures and increased winter frost depth are contributing to the freezing and disruption of regular water services. As cold temperatures continue, the City asks residents and businesses to take proactive steps to protect indoor plumbing. Tips are posted online at guelph.ca/frozenwater.

As the air temperature warms, customers may experience leaks where expanding ice has broken or cracked previously frozen pipes. Customers that have had frozen pipes should watch for leaks over the coming weeks, and can visit guelph.ca/fix-a-leak for information about using their water meter to identify leaks.

Get more information about frozen water services including household tips at guelph.ca/frozenwater .

Residents or businesses experiencing a frozen water services, should call Water Services:

  • Regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., call 519-837-5627
  • Afterhours, weekends and holidays, call 1-866-630-9242

For more information

Peter Busatto
General Manager
Water Services
519-822-1260 extension 2165
peter.busatto@guelph.ca

City and firefighters begin contract negotiations February 27

Guelph, ON, February 23, 2015 – The City of Guelph and the Guelph Professional Firefighters’ Association (GPFFA) are set to begin contract negotiations on Friday, February 27.  Further bargaining meetings are scheduled for March 5, 6, 10, 11, 31 and April 4.

During this evening’s City Council meeting, Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie issued the following statement:

“Earlier this evening, Council provided direction to staff with a mandate to commence collective bargaining with the Guelph Professional Firefighters’ Association.

Council was clear in its direction. We hope and expect to negotiate a contract that is fair to our employees whose work we value every day in helping to keep our community safe; a contract that is also fair, reasonable and affordable for our citizens and recognizes the City’s capacity to pay.

Council believes firefighters should be paid well for the work they do, and expects the negotiated settlement to be aligned with other City of Guelph union groups’ settlements.

Staff will be reporting back to Council regarding the status of negotiations and recommended next steps at the June 22, 2015 council meeting.”

Updates will be posted at guelph.ca/gpffa  as negotiations get underway.

For more information

Mark Amorosi
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Corporate Services
519-822-1260 extension 2281
mark.amorosi@guelph.ca

Grow Guelph Business Retention and Expansion program recognized for excellence by the Economic Development Council of Ontario

GUELPH, ON, February 20, 2015 – The Grow Guelph Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) program has been honoured by the Economic Development Council of Ontario (EDCO) with an award of excellence in Public-Private Partnership for a population of 50,000-250,000. The program also received honourable mention in the Strategic Plans and Initiatives 50,000-250,000 category.

The Grow Guelph BR+E program is a collective of the City of Guelph and other local business service organizations. The program encourages engagement with the local business community, works to understand their unique business needs, and supports their growth in Guelph. It includes components such as face to face business surveys, networking events, expansion facilitation, access to industry investment opportunities, and marketing support.

“We are proud to be recognized for this collaborative effort in supporting business retention and expansion in Guelph,” says Peter Cartwright, General Manager, Economic Development, City of Guelph. “Business expansion in our city not only sustains Guelph’s current employment, but increases both the amount and types of jobs available, creating more employment opportunity in our community.”

“Partnership is the key to the success of this program,” says Sue Bennett a founding partner of Grow Guelph, Director of University and Community Relations, University of Guelph. “As with all member organizations, the University of Guelph brings a unique skill set to the table; by working together we create a stronger network of complementary services to support the broad range of local business needs.”

The award was presented at the annual EDCO conference held February 12 in Hamilton. “It is a real privilege to honour such deserving communities like Guelph,” stated Paul Finley, EDCO 2014 President. “Celebrating their achievements, and sharing their success helps promote a higher standard of excellence across the province, resulting in a greater Ontario.” A complete list of 2014 award recipients can be found on the EDCO website at www.edco.on.ca.

EDCO is an independent, non-profit, incorporated association that is engaged in promoting excellence in economic development.

About Grow Guelph BR+E Program:

The Grow Guelph Taskforce is made up of the Career Education Council, City of Guelph, Conestoga College, Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Guelph Business Association, Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre, Innovation Guelph, Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, University of Guelph, and Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.

The long-term goal of the Grow Guelph BR+E program is to acknowledge the value that local businesses contribute to our community, and to create a strong local economy where businesses can invest, grow and prosper.

Related links:
Guelph launches Grow Guelph business retention and expansion program

For more information

Peter Cartwright
General Manager
Economic Development
Finance and Enterprise Services
519-822-1260 extension 2820
peter.cartwright@guelph.ca

GPL’s How-To Expert Festival coming soon!

Do you love to learn new things but never seem to have enough time? The Guelph Public Library is hosting a HOW-TO Expert Festival on Saturday, March 28, where everyone can learn something new in just 10 minutes!

Fourteen Experts. 10 Minutes. 100% Free.

Think of all the wonderful skills you can learn in such a short time…HOW-TO: become a juggling wizard, public speaking master, perfect the art of tying a necktie and bowtie, raise chickens in the city, identify plants and birds, play the ukulele, get fit and avoid fat gaining injuries, save someone from choking, knit in style, discover how to read food nutrition labels, paint with acrylics, and more! The GPL’s HOW-TO Expert Festival will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Main Library (100 Norfolk Street).

Come join us, share your experience on social media with #GPLHowToFest, and learn something new!

For more information

Steve Kraft, CEO
skraft@GuelphPL.ca 519-824-6220 extension 224
http://www.guelphpl.ca

City using technology to improve services

Second Guelph Hackathon and ask.guelph.ca announced

Guelph, ON, February 13, 2015 – The City of Guelph, as part of its ongoing commitment to community participation in local government, is launching two initiatives to enhance City services: an Open Guelph Online Hackathon and ask.guelph.ca. These initiatives coincide with the International Open Data Day, February 21, 2015.

The Online Hackathon is designed for students, local application developers and interested community members to use City data to create innovative mobile and web-based applications and tools for Guelph residents. The tools will help to improve the delivery of transit and solid waste services.

“Rather than the City building tools for residents, we are looking to involve the community in the process. Guelph residents have great ideas and skill sets that can help others receive the information they’re looking for,” says Blair Labelle, general manager, Technology and Innovation Services. “The focus of the City’s second Hackathon is on two service areas that are key services for residents – waste collection and transit.”

The 2015 online Hackathon will allow participants to develop their tool from the comforts of home and submit their entries online. For more information, visit  the city’s website, open.guelph.ca/guelph-hackathon-2015. While the contest officially begins on Monday, February 23, participants can get a jump start by reviewing the four themes in advance. Prizes will be awarded for the top three entries.

The Online Hackathon closes Sunday, March 1 at 11:59 p.m. The event is free and pre-registration is not required but encouraged. Data sets will be made available on Sunday, February 22.

The City’s new portal, ask.guelph.ca, is designed to make it easier for residents to ask questions about how the municipality works. The portal is designed to function like Google; residents can type questions and the site will search the City’s pre-populated content for the answer.

“ask.guelph.ca is more than a search engine. It provides a way for residents to better understand  how the municipality works,” says Labelle. “If the answer is not found, residents will be able to submit their question to the City.”

Making civic information more readily available and relevant to Guelph residents, in transparent and accountable ways is one of four focus areas the City is pursuing as part of its open government efforts.

For more information

Blair Labelle
General Manager, Technology and Innovation
Corporate Services
Information Technology
519-822-1260  x 2232
blair.labelle@guelph.ca

Community invited to discuss Capital Budget February 25

Guelph, ON, February 12, 2015 – The City has released the proposed 2015 Capital Budget and Forecast for the community to review and discuss with Council.

On Wednesday, February 25, City staff will present Guelph’s proposed 2015-2017 Capital Budget and Forecast . During the meeting, community members are invited to make presentations supporting specific investments in buildings, roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, parks, trails, and other assets and infrastructure.

“Councillors listen and respond to community feedback throughout the year but we also strongly encourage residents to provide their input as part of the City’s annual budget process,” says Al Horsman, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services and CFO. “Given the change in Council following the election, it is important that residents speak in support of projects at this time.”

This year’s budget is focused on taking care of what the City owns. By doing so, the City is able to protect the health and safety of residents and ensure it is able to deliver services to the community.

Residents and Council will see a major difference in this year’s proposed budget and forecast. Typically the City presents a one-year budget and nine-year forecast; however, for 2015 the one-year budget is being presented with a two-year forecast to provide Council time to undergo a strategic priority setting exercise. This exercise will help determine which projects will be accomplished over the coming years and therefore influence coming budget forecasts.

Have your say

Residents are invited to review proposed documents and bring their comments to Council on February 25 (Capital Budget meeting) and March 11 (Public Delegation Night).

Delegation registration and submission must be submitted by Friday, February 20 at 9 a.m. for the Capital Budget meeting and Friday, March 6 at 9 a.m. for the Public Delegation Night. To register, contact the Office of the City Clerk at 519-837-5603 or clerks@guelph.ca .

All budget documents and related information will be posted on guelph.ca/budget as they become available.

Coming up next

  • February 25 – Proposed Capital Budget presentation and public delegations
  • February 26 – Proposed Local Boards and Shared Services
  • March 5 – Proposed Operating Budget presentation
  • March 11 – Public delegation night
  • March 25 – Council deliberates and approves Operating and Capital budgets
  • March 31 – additional meeting for budget approvals if necessary

All meetings will begin at 6 p.m. and be held in Council Chambers, City Hall, 1 Carden Street.

Follow the City’s budget news on guelph.ca/budget , Twitter ( @cityofguelph , #GuelphBudget) and facebook.com/cityofguelph .

For more information

Al Horsman
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer/CFO
Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services
519-822-1260 extension 5606
al.horsman@guelph.ca

Mark Amorosi
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Corporate Services
519-822-1260 extension 2281
mark.amorosi@guelph.ca

Guelph honoured for municipal public sector leadership

The Institute of Public Administration of Canada recognizes City’s efforts to transform local government

Toronto, ON, February 6, 2015– Yesterday, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and Deloitte recognized Guelph as one of the top three cities in the municipal category of their annual public sector leadership awards.

The IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Awards program recognizes organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership by taking bold steps to improve Canada, through advancements in public policy and management.

Deloitte and IPAC awarded Guelph with the bronze and were particularly impressed by Guelph’s effort to work on many fronts at the same time to transform local government in order to be relevant and responsive to citizens and the business community.  including the following:

  • Co-producing an Open Government Action Plan that is principle-based and comprehensive. The City has established an Open Government Community Leadership Team; turned Council orientation into an online resource everyone can access; and created a Civic Innovation Lab in partnership with the University of Guelph.
  • Establishing a Leadership Charter signed by 150 leaders at the City of Guelph. The Charter is empowering employees to put citizens at the heart of every decision.
  • Implementing structural transformation that includes streamlining five service areas into three and begins to establish a number of solution-based round tables that— depending on the table—will bring together City Councillors, a cross-section of employees, citizens and business leaders to solve complex community issues.

“This recognition from a national public administration institute and a leading international private sector firm is a testament to our employees, Council and the Guelph community for challenging the status quo and demonstrating leadership in local government,” stated City of Guelph CAO Ann Pappert.

To see more about the City of Guelph’s work to transform local government visit open.guelph.ca

For more information

Ann Pappert
Chief Administrative Officer
519-822-1260 extension 2221
ann.pappert@guelph.ca

Council approves 4.1 per cent water, wastewater rate increases

2015 Non-tax-supported budget receives Council approval

Guelph, ON, January 28, 2015 – Earlier this evening, Council approved the City’s Water and Wastewater Services, Building Code Administration and Court Services budgets.

“We continue to keep Guelph’s water and wastewater rates within the average among our comparator municipalities through the innovative and proactive programs undertaken by these departments,” noted Al Horsman, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services. “For example, Water Services continues enhanced leak detection work to reclaim water supply capacity, and Wastewater Services has performed an optimization demonstration to allow the City to apply for a re-rating of the treatment facility that will help offset the costs of any future expansions, if required.”

Approved 2015 water/wastewater charges, effective March 1, 2015
2014 2015 CHANGE
Water Volume – $/cubic metre (M3) $1.43 $1.52 $0.09
Water Basic – $/Day $0.25 $0.26 $0.01
Wastewater Volume – $/Cubic metre (M3) $1.59 $1.66 $0.07
Wastewater Basic – $/day $0.31 $0.32 0.01
 Average residential annual bill (185 M3*)  $763  $794  $31 or 4.1%

*City estimate of average annual volume of water consumed by a Guelph household of three people

Water Services
The $27.1 million operating budget and $206.6 million 10-year capital budget and forecast for Water Services allows Guelph to continue delivering a safe and sustainable water supply while renewing its aging infrastructure.

Wastewater Services
The $28.8 million operating and $192.1 million 10-year capital budget and forecast support continued optimization of Guelph’s wastewater systems.

Building Services
The $3 million operating and $166,000 10-year capital budget and forecast include continued investments to improve the City’s online building permit application system, and enhance service to residential and commercial customers.

Court Services
The $3.35 million operating and $682,400 10-year capital budget and forecast include plans to implement convenient e-ticket processes.

2015 City Budget

The Non-tax-supported budget is the first of four to be approved by City Council. Residents are invited to review proposed documents and bring their comments to Council on February 25 (Capital Budget meeting) and March 11 (Public Delegation Night), and to follow the City’s budget news on guelph.ca/budget, Twitter (@cityofguelph, #GuelphBudget) and facebook.com/cityofguelph.

Delegation registration and submission must be submitted by Friday, February 20 at 9 a.m. for the Capital Budget meeting and Friday, March 6 at 9 a.m. for the Public Delegation Night.

All budget documents and related information will be posted on guelph.ca/budget as they become available.

Coming up next

February 25 – Proposed Capital Budget presentation and public delegations
February 26 – Proposed Local Boards Operating and Capital Budget presentation
March 5 – Proposed Operating Budget presentation

March 11 – Public delegation night

March 25 – Council deliberates and approves Operating and Capital budgets
March 31 – additional meeting for budget approvals if necessary

For more information

Al Horsman
Chief Financial Officer/Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services
519-822-1260 extension 5606
al.horsman@guelph.ca

Mark Amorosi
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Corporate Services
519-822-1260 extension 2281
mark.amorosi@guelph.ca

Mayor Cam Guthrie launches mayorguthrie.com

GUELPH, ON, January 28, 2015 – Mayor Cam Guthrie has launched a blog at mayorguthrie.com.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my perspectives on local issues from where I sit as the mayor of Guelph,” said Mayor Guthrie. “As mayor, I want to be accessible to people and have respectful discussions on the issues that matter to them. For many people, social media is the best way to have those discussions.”

Blog posts will be linked on Mayor Guthrie’s Facebook page at facebook.com/mayorcamguthrie and Twitter feed (@camguthrie), for those who prefer to follow through those channels. Readers can also follow the blog via e-mail by subscribing at mayorguthrie.com.

“It’s going to be an important and exciting four years for Guelph City Council. I invite everyone to join the conversation through my blog. Tell me what you think and where you want to see our city going,” said Mayor Guthrie.

For more information:

Kate Sullivan
Communications Assistant
Mayor’s Office
519-822-1260  extension 2558
kate.sullivan@guelph.ca