Council approves City’s 2021 budget

Guelph, Ont., December 1, 2020—Council approved the 2021 operating budget with a gross expenditure of $463,361,452 equaling a net tax levy increase of 2.55 per cent; and a one year pause on the Guelph General Hospital contribution approved as part of the 2020 budget, reduced the net tax levy increase to 2.25 per cent.

“Tonight’s budget approval reflects Council’s commitment to our community to provide support and service excellence to our citizens, their families and our business owners. The 2021 budget brings tax relief and funding to help our community through this pandemic,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “I’d like to thank my Council colleagues and our City staff for their dedication to putting our community first and ensuring we have a budget that keeps our city moving forward.”

The approved budget reflects the funding needed to maintain current levels of service for both the City and its local boards and shared service partners including Guelph Public Library, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Social Services (County of Wellington), Guelph Police Services, and the Elliott (long-term care).

“Council’s approval of the 2021 budget and receipt of the three-year operating forecast and nine-year capital forecast, set the pace for initiatives that will meet our Strategic Plan goals,” said Trevor Lee, Deputy CAO, Corporate Services.

The capital portion of this budget approval ensures that the South End Community Centre and the Baker District Redevelopment project can proceed with construction to start in 2022, with operating impacts phased in over multiple years.

The City’s user rates have been approved with a 2.8 per cent increase to water, one per cent increase to wastewater, and a stormwater base charge change of $6.40 per month, resulting in a 2.03 per cent increase for the average home in Guelph starting January 1, 2021.

The 2021 budget also includes new budget requests to support a growing community, including initial investments to support digital transformation to become the modern local government the community expects, strategic priority implementation and seven new positions including four paramedics. It also includes the approval of the red light camera implementation and the bi-weekly curbside pick up of yard waste.

Council also approved the following:

  • A wage freeze for non-union employees, Mayor and Council equaling a savings of $831,800.
  • $1,128,500 of one-time community and business support to assist through COVID recovery including business licence fee subsidy, volunteer records check subsidy, Guelph Neighborhood Support Coalition funding, continued funding for the Welcoming Streets initiative and the Addiction Court Support Program, and increased support to long-term care.
  • A total of $1,000,000 to local organizations and businesses to rebuild and adapt to the impacts of COVID-19—$650,000 to non-profit organizations, groups and individuals to support the community across all sectors to help adapt/create services or programs to meet community needs, and $350,000 to local businesses in the tourism industry.
  • $833,000 for the first year phase-in of the operating budget for the South End Community Centre and the Baker District Redevelopment.
  • $134,500 for a new Economic Development Officer dedicated to investment attraction, retention and real estate focusing on proactive business migration to Guelph from GTA, and support pandemic economic recovery in our community.
  • $300,000 for a service rationalization of City services.

“This year’s budget reflects Council’s direction to prioritize our Strategic Plan initiatives and services that will make our community and organization future-ready,” said Tara Baker, treasurer and general manager of Finance. “With the operating and capital budget forecast well in hand, we can set our sights on continuing with our multi-year budgeting program and our long-term financial strategy.”

What’s next?
With the budget now approved, Council will set the tax policy in April to determine what percentage of the total levy will be paid by each tax class.

All final budget documents will be available at guelph.ca/budget and comply with the Province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Accessible formats available by calling 519-822-1260, extension 2325 or TTY 519-826-9771.

Media contact:

Tara Baker
Treasurer, GM Finance
City of Guelph
519-822-1260, extension 2084
[email protected]