Investments focus on maintaining City Services while supporting existing and growth-enabling infrastructure as well as housing and homelessness
Guelph, Ont., November 29, 2023 – On November 29, City Council amended and adopted Guelph’s 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget with investments that focus on maintaining City services while supporting existing and growth-enabling infrastructure, as well as housing and homelessness. The budget will help advance the Council-approved Future Guelph strategic plan.
“Today, City Council reduced and adopted Guelph’s 2024-2027 Multi-Year Budget,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “Council was able to lower the City’s portion of the budget to 3.96 per cent. With the addition of outside boards and agencies, along with new impacts from provincial legislation, including downloading and underfunding housing, hospital and homelessness initiatives, the total impact is 8.52 per cent. Council had tough conversations and made difficult decisions as we worked with staff and listened to the community to create value for our residents and balance the diverse needs of Guelphites. At the end of the day, the budget maintains current service levels and delivers fiscally responsible enhancements while managing the costs downloaded by the province.”
Investing in Guelph
Over the next four years, the capital budget will invest $1.26 billion into the Guelph community. This investment will focus on crucial projects that support the replacement of old pipes and roads and building new ones like the planned Speedvale Bridge replacement and York Road improvements, to mitigate the impacts of provincial downloading related to housing, and a significant investment in paramedic services to improve emergency response times and support community well-being.
Other priority investments found in both the operating and capital budgets include:
- Advancing policy work that supports initiatives across the housing continuum, supporting quicker development application review times and planning housing-enabling infrastructure, and supporting advancements through technology.
- Collaborating on unstructured encampment wellness checks to support community health, safety, and well-being.
- Increasing bus service frequency, improving bus shelters, and enhancing digital services to provide current route information at stops.
- Making it easier to get around by implementing the cycling and downtown parking master plans, improving sidewalk construction and accessibility, and multi-use paths.
- Responding to the housing and homelessness crises with increased funding to County of Wellington Social Services
- Supporting community well-being through a grant to support physician recruitment for the Guelph-Wellington Ontario Health Team and a much-needed hospital expansion and renovations.
- Leading climate action with electrification of the City’s transit fleet, replacing seven diesel buses with electric buses each year (on average) and electrification of the corporate fleet.
- Supporting our city’s sustainability by planting 3.6 million more trees by 2070, and stormwater investments to prevent flooding, replacement of storm sewers and more.
- Making downtown a vibrant place for everyone by updating old pipes, creating more public spaces, and improving streetscapes.
- Growing and caring for community spaces and places through culture and recreation programming, implementation of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and support for the opening of two much-needed facilities: the South End Community Centre and new central library.
- Improving customer service and digital technology to better serve our diverse community.
More details on the adopted 2024-2027 operating budget, including local boards and shared services budgets, and the capital budget can be found on the City’s budget dashboard.
Investments from tax dollars and fee-based services
Delivering core services for a growing and diverse city during a time of high inflation and a forced decline in development-based revenues requires an increased investment from tax and ratepayers. The average household will pay about $31-$38 more a month into the community through property taxes each year for the next four years. The tax investment breaks down as follows for 2024:
- City-tax impact: 3.96 per cent
- Local boards and shared services impact: 1.87 per cent
- Provincial impacts related to housing, supports for homelessness, and hospital expansion: 2.69 per cent
Rates for City utilities (water, wastewater, and stormwater) will increase by $6.94-$9.93 per month for the average home each year for the next four years.
“We don’t take these impacts lightly,” said Scott Stewart, chief administrative officer. “We’re committed to spending tax and rate dollars wisely over the next four years, and to finding any cost-saving opportunities we can. Each year as we update the budget through the confirmation process, we have the flexibility to adapt the proposed budget based on what’s changed.”
All final budget documents will be available at guelph.ca/budget by December 22.
Development of 2025-2027 confirmation budgets
The budget confirmation process acts as a pulse check done each year after a multi-year budget is approved. Staff and Council will work together over the next three years to review tax rates and work in an agile and flexible way to adjust for future environments within the City’s budget policy.
Tara Baker, Treasurer and General Manager, Finance
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2084