2022 and 2023 budget: Executive summary

The 2022/23 budget is a reflection of the resources required to meet our service delivery requirements to both our current and future population: residents and businesses. Further, it includes a number of strategic investment options required to implement the Strategic Plan priorities and demonstrate improvement on the Council-approved performance metrics. The budget is the tool for setting the pace of achieving these goals through demonstration of the operating budget financial impact over a four-year period.

Overriding themes and strategies have emerged from the development of the 2022/23 Budget and will be reinforced through all aspects of the presentation and documents:

  • long-term financial planning provides the foundation to inform data driven decisions, to prioritize investment aligned with capacity to delivery and to maintain an affordable pace of service delivery
  • the COVID-19 Pandemic recovery continues to create uncertainty in future with changing business needs, supply chain challenges, significant inflationary concerns and reliance on Provincial grant funding
  • digital transformation is needed to become the modern and customer-centric City our community expects
  • Climate change is happening around us and the City is responding by applying a climate lens across everything we do including capital lifecycle replacements, new construction, and energy optimization initiatives.
  • Not only is legislation mandating that Guelph grows, but it’s also changing a number of our businesses operating landscapes; the multi-year budget enables an agile forecast to plan and respond to these changes

The total 2022/23 operating expenditure budget is $481.1 million and $500.7 million respectively; investment is focused on maintaining service delivery to our current and growing population. The 2022 and 2023 capital budgets total $141.4 million and $161.9 million respectively, and primarily focus on infrastructure renewal of our aging assets and building infrastructure to support our growing City.

Overall, the key achievements included in the City’s multi-year budget investment are:

  • Just under 15km of fibre-optic cabling installed readying the City for future data and network needs.
  • Investing in renewable energy to fund the electrification of 35 aged conventional transit fleet buses over eight years, significantly reducing the City’s carbon footprint.
  • Delivery of 10 trail connectivity solutions throughout 2022 and 2023.
  • Improved completion time (6 to 12 months) of low/medium priority forestry work versus current two-year timeline.
  • Planting of 10,000 trees in each of 2022 and 2023, in partnership with our local stakeholders.
  • Making our roads safer through implementation of the Community Road Safety Strategy, approval of speed limit reductions, and implementing new technology like red light cameras and automated speed enforcement.
  • Recovery of City businesses significantly impacted by COVID including the reimplementation of the transit U-pass contract and planned programming of cultural and recreation facilities.
  • City programming of the Guelph Sports Dome expands to multi use, year-round sport and facility access for all ages.
  • Delivering more timely processing of development applications and building inspections in accordance with changing legislation.
  • Responding to above-average inflationary pressures with the help of the City’s strong reserve position, recognizing the excellence in past efforts to build reserves and focus on cost-containment through COVID.
  • Continued focus on maintaining critical City infrastructure to deliver services to the community; implementing the Capital Program Resourcing Strategy which builds people capacity over five years to double the City’s capital spending and project execution in accordance with the Asset Management Plan.
  • Responding to our growing community while maintaining our service levels with the addition of a tandem sand/salter truck, a mobility bus and a waste packer.
  • Developing business cases where required to assess viability of Service Rationalization Review opportunities.

Highlights from the 2022/23 budget

In aggregate, the total cost of each service for 2022 and 2023 shows the total operating investment excluding any revenues. This provides context to the magnitude of each service cost in comparison to each one another, it is not however reflective of the property tax cost. Capital funding as depicted only includes the tax supported businesses, as the City works on improved ways to visualize total cost of service in the future. The water, wastewater, stormwater, courts services, parking services, police, library, long-term care, public health, and social services include the capital cost of service in their respective lines.

2022/2023 gross expenditure by service

Service 2022
(in millions)
(in millions)
Mayor and Council 1.17 1.20
Long-term care 2.73 2.97
Economic development and tourism 3.40 3.44
Ontario Building Code 3.95 4.20
Court services 4.77 6.14
Parking 4.98 5.12
Planning and building 9.07 9.61
Engineering and transportation 9.15 9.96
Stormwater 9.80 10.6
Recreation 9.94 10.1
Corporate fleet, corporate facilities and corporate security 10.5 11.3
Library 10.9 12.8
Parks 11.6 12.2
Culture 11.8 12.1
General corporate expenses 13.0 15.3
Road and sidewalks 15.4 15.9
Social services 23.5 24.0
Solid waste 23.8 24.4
Corporate and governance services 24.3 24.0
Paramedics 26.5 26.5
Fire 29.7 30.5
Water 31.2 32.1
Transit 34.1 35.0
Wastwater 34.8 35.5
Police 57.5 60.6
Capital funding 62.3 64.2

The operating budget can also be considered by type of expense rather than by service.  From this perspective, it becomes clear why we value our employees in this organization as they represent the most critical and significant input to delivering the services we provide to the community.

Operating expenses by type

Year 2021 2022 2023
Salary, wage and benefits 223,852,924 237,333,583 246,343,367
Purchased goods and services 77,996,869 84,021,894 86,488,409
Long term debt and financial expenses 18,798,814 19,090,350 19,265,350
Government and other transfers 35,971,300 37,630,521 38,506,641
 Transfers to Reserves 83,069,540 82,710,693 90,665,990
Total Expenditures 439,689,447 460,787,041 481,269,757

Transitioning to the capital budget, the City is projecting to spend $2.04 billion over the next ten years and this work can be categorized into the following priority areas. Infrastructure Renewal remains the largest focus followed by growth-related capital investment supporting the mandated requirement for our population to grow to over 200,000 people by 2051.

City building: 9%, Growth: 37%, infrastructure renewal: 54%

From an investment by year perspective, the capital budget can be quite variable as the size and complexity of projects each year can be vastly different. A new facility for example, can cause a variation in one year over another that is more focused on linear road and underground pipe infrastructure renewal. The City’s integrated infrastructure planning crosses a number of departments and asset management plans drive the majority of capital decisions.

Capital budget investment by year

Year Capital budget investment
2022 141,423,650
2023 161,907,150
2024 193,632,450
2025 286,120,350
2026 181,305,750
2027  193,362,850
2028 155,080,800
2029 233,826,400
2030 242,787,140
2031 260,475,600

The operating and capital budgets are funded by a number of different revenues including property taxes, user fees, rates, grants, development charges and investment income. The following chart shows the total revenues that fund the combined operating and capital budgets in 2022. Property taxes fund just over half of the City’s budget, meaning other revenue sources are just as important when we consider the delivery of all services.

2022 total revenues by type

Revenue type Amount Percentage
Taxation (284,351,153) 56%
User Fees, rates and charges (115,744,915) 23%
Licenses, permits, investment income and recoveries (26,523,249) 5%
Capital revenues (49,384,370) 10%
Grants (34,167,724) 7%

The budget is the tool which is used to generate the required revenue needed to fund the cost of delivering services to the community. The revenue increases for taxes and user rates required to fund the budget over four years are included in the table below. The City also has many user fees and charges that are increasing with inflation and reducing the amount otherwise required from taxation.

Forecast increase 2022 2023 2024 2025
Tax levy – City 2.10% 2.85% 3.77% 2.84%
Tax levy – Local board and shared services 1.53% 1.84% 1.17% 1.71%
Tax levy – Guelph General Hospital 0.29% n/a n/a n/a
Total tax levy increase 3.93% 4.69% 4.94% 4.55%
User rate increase 2.61% 2.86% 3.45% 2.84%

Finally, new this year, we wanted to provide a more detailed look at what each service costs to the property tax payer annually. The average residential property valued at $389,500 is estimated to pay $4,003.21 in property taxes in 2022 based on the proposed budget, an increase of $149.51 over 2021. From a property tax bill perspective, the average homeowner payment is divided as follows:

2022/23 average property tax cost by service

Service Percentage Average cost per service
Police 19.2% $770
Capital funding 11.3% $454
Fire 10.1% $406
Social services 8.1% $326
Transit 7.2% $288
Corporate and governance services 6.3% $253
Road and sidewalks 5.3% $211
Solid waste 4.9% $195
Culture 4.1% $165
Parks 4.0% $160
Library 3.9% $157
Corporate fleet, corporate facilities and corporate security 3.4% $138
Paramedics 2.7% $109
Engineering 2.0% $81
Planning and building 1.5% $62
Recreation 1.5% $61
Public health 1.5% $59
Economic Development and Tourism 1.1% $44
Long-term Care 0.9% $38
Mayor and Council 0.4% $16
Parking 0.4% $15