Council approves City’s first multi-year budget

Guelph, Ont., December 2, 2021 — Today, December 2, Guelph City Council approved the 2022 and 2023 Budget—the City’s first multi-year budget that moves the organization toward a four-year budget.

“Tonight’s budget approval responds to Council’s commitments to Guelph’s growing and diverse community,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “I’d like to thank my Council colleagues and our City staff that helped guide us towards this moment.”

For taxpayers, tonight’s budget approval is a 4.21 per cent levy increase over the 2021 budget, and for 2023, a 5.17 per cent levy increase over the 2022 budget. For the average household, with a residential property assessed at $389,500, Council’s budget approval results in about $4,007.47 in property taxes in 2022. This is an increase of $153.77 over 2021, or about $12.81 per month.

The two-year budget also includes changes to user fees and rates for water, wastewater and stormwater. Collectively, these rate changes result in a 2.61 per cent increase in 2022 and a 2.73 per cent increase in 2023 for the average home in Guelph.

“Council’s approval of the 2022 and 2023 Budget and receipt of the two-year operating and eight-year capital forecasts sets the pace for the projects, initiatives and services that will make our community and organization future ready,” says Trevor Lee, deputy chief administrative officer, Corporate Services, adding, “The budget is about investing in programs and services that improve community well-being, while being fiscally responsible today and into the future.”

Like last year, the non-tax operating, tax-supported operating, capital, and local boards and shared services budgets are approved as one single budget, regardless of the funding source or which City department manages the service.

Operating budget

The 2022 and 2023 net operating budget investment is $11.2 million and $14.5 million respectively: investment-focused on maintaining service delivery to Guelph’s current and growing population. Of this, $7.1 million or a 2.68 per cent levy increase is for City departments including capital in 2022, and in 2023 the amount is $9.4 million or a 3.34 per cent levy increase.

The 2022 budget increase for the local boards and shared services (LBSS) partners is $4.1 million or a 1.53 per cent levy increase, and in 2023 it is $5.1 million or 1.83 per cent levy increase. LBSS partners include the Elliott Community, Guelph Public Library, Guelph Police Service, Grand River Conservation Authority, Wellington County Social Services, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

With this budget, Council voted in favour to include the $750,000 levy for Guelph General Hospital for the second and third of the six-year commitment, as approved on December 3, 2019; however, City reserves were used to mitigate a tax levy impact.

Capital budget

The capital budget totals for 2022 and 2023 are $141.4 million and $161.9 million respectively, and primarily focuses on replacing aging infrastructure and building new assets to support a growing city. The 2024 to 2031 capital forecast is $1.7 billion with an operating budget impact of $8.4 million to be phased in over multiple years. The capital budget pays for projects such as the fibre optic cable network for future data needs, and additional initiatives for Council consideration such as electrifying Guelph Transit buses, and planting 10,000 trees.

Budget highlights

Council also approved the following:

  • $3.2 million in 2022 and $1.3 million in 2023 for the Guelph Transit route review strategy, including digital enhancements
  • 384,800 in 2022 and $24,200 in 2023 as part of the Paramedic Service Master Plan
  • $116,000 for a permanent heritage planner in 2022 as part of the Cultural Heritage Action Plan implementation
  • $380,000 for consulting and a two-year temporary position in 2022 to advance the Cultural Heritage Action Plan work
  • Community Benefit Agreement enhancements for Guelph Neighbourhood Group Coalition and Guelph Humane Society
  • Pilot projects for tiered low income Affordable Bus Pass and kids (ages 5–12) ride transit for free
  • Up to $120,000 for one-time funding to cover police volunteer record checks
  • $50,000 in one-time funding for a court support worker in 2022
  • $91,000 in one-time funding in 2022 for the Welcoming Streets Initiative to ensure downtown Guelph is safe, inclusive and welcoming for all community members
  • Hourly parking rate increases from $2.18 to $2.66 per hour, resulting in an anticipated additional $93,100 in revenue in 2022; downtown permit parking fees to increase by 5 per cent in 2022

“The 2022 and 2023 Budget outlines the resources needed for the remaining years of the Strategic Plan: Guelph. Future Ready and tonight’s budget approval enables us to deliver on our priorities to improve our economy, environment, transportation, and support community development,” says Tara Baker, treasurer and Finance general manager.

What’s next?

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 and Finance General Manager
City of Guelph
519-822-1260, extension 2084
[email protected]