Housing, inflation, infrastructure gaps, and provincial legislative changes are key influences on budget
Guelph, Ont., November 3, 2023 – Today, the City of Guelph released the 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget. The budget was built based on direction from the Council-approved Future Guelph strategic plan.
“Staff has worked diligently, over many months, to prepare a budget that accomplishes four main goals,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “Maintaining current service levels while minimizing risk; delivering service in accordance with legislative changes; maintaining service levels to keep pace with growth; and finding opportunities to improve service levels above what’s being delivered to our community today. Now, it’s Council’s turn to have tough conversations and make difficult decisions to ensure this budget creates value and meets the needs of all Guelphites.”
Following an extensive review of the work ahead over the next four years and per the City’s master plans, staff has prepared a budget that includes new resources for Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Services to improve response times and help reduce offload delays, operating funding needed for the South End Community Centre and Baker District redevelopment to maintain and run these facilities, and funding for transit system improvements including more electric buses and related charging infrastructure.
Staff scrutinized the capital budget to defer projects and reduce costs where possible. The capital budget is heavily impacted by high inflation and, at the same time, the City needs to invest in housing-enabling infrastructure like water and wastewater pipes, roads, and stormwater systems. The focus of planned capital investments over the next four years aligns with goals of the City’s Future Guelph strategic plan. However, the level and timing of investments have been adjusted to better support financial sustainability. Priorities will be re-evaluated through a confirmation process each subsequent year of the multi-year budget.
To support core City services while growing and enhancing the community during a time of high inflation and a forced decline in key development-based revenues for the City, the budget impact for taxpayers would see the average household pay about $32-$38 more a month in property taxes each year of the multi-year budget. The tax impact breaks down for 2024 as follows:
- City-tax impact: 4.97 per cent
- Local boards and shared services impact: 1.98 per cent
- Provincial impacts related to housing, supports for homelessness, and hospital expansion: 3.37 per cent
The City’s utility rates (water, wastewater, and stormwater) will increase by $7.39-$9.48 per month for the average home each year over the next four years.
The benefits of multi-year budgeting
“A multi-year budget strategy is especially valuable in times of volatility as it allows us to see the longer-term impacts and pace work to address constraints,” explains Scott Stewart, chief administrative officer, City of Guelph. “This time around, on top of high inflation, we’re seeing that external pressures like the provincial impacts related to housing, supporting those living with homelessness, and a much-needed hospital expansion and increased needs from local boards and shared services have a larger tax impact than the City’s work and services.”
Council will deliberate and adopt Guelph’s 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget as one single budget, regardless of the funding source or which City department manages the service. The Multi-Year Budget includes:
- the non-tax operating budget for fee-based services such as water, wastewater, and stormwater,
- the tax-supported operating budget for communal services like waste collection, road maintenance, and taking care of trees and parks,
- the capital budget for replacing old pipes and roads and building new ones, and
- budgets for local boards and shared services such as County of Wellington Social Services, Grand River Conservation Authority, and Guelph Police Services.
Further details on Guelph’s 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget can be found at guelph.ca/budget which includes the staff report to Council.
Dates to remember
- November 7: staff presents the 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget to Council and the public
- November 15: public delegations
- November 29: Council amendment day
- November 30–December 9: Mayoral veto period
- December 10–25: Council override period
Council must adopt Guelph’s 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget on or before December 25, 2023.
‘Tough decisions’ online community engagement
The Guelph community is encouraged to try out a simplified budgeting activity that replicates the tough decisions facing Council as community members think about what matters most to them. Results from this activity will be shared with Council and the public and may be considered as Council deliberates and make decisions throughout the budget process. Visit haveyoursay.guelph.ca to participate.
Residents can address Council about the budget through a written submission, remotely by video or phone, or in person at the November 15 public delegation meeting. Please register as a delegate or make a submission by 10 a.m. November 10 using the online delegate request form, or by contacting the City Clerk’s office at 519-837-5603 or emailing [email protected].
Council-led budget town halls
Council members are hosting town halls in each ward between November 9-23. To find out when they are happening, visit haveyoursay.guelph.ca. Residents can use the interactive ward map and list of City Councillors by ward to find their ward information.
All budget materials, including the 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget staff report and Mayor Guthrie’s introduction to the 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget, are available on guelph.ca/budget.
As always, the public can read questions posed by Council and staff’s answers on the online budget board.
Follow the City’s budget updates at guelph.ca/budget, on X (formerly Twitter) (@cityofguelph, #GuelphBudget) and Facebook (@cityofguelph). Residents wanting to know more about the budget can email [email protected].
Watch all Council meetings related to the 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget (presentation, delegations and deliberation) live at guelph.ca/live.
Treasurer and General Manager, Finance
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2084