City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the February 13 Meeting?

And now for the final piece of the budget puzzle for 2019, the Local Boards and Shared Services Budget; six key areas for life and living in the Royal City.

CON-2019-07 2019 Local Boards and Shared Services Budgets – Following up on the presentation of the Tax Supported Operating Budget later this week is presentation of the Local Board and Shared Services budget. This report covers the Elliott Community, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Downtown Guelph Business Association, Guelph Police Services, the Guelph Public Library, and County of Wellington Shared Social Services.

Overall, these budgets combined constitute a $1,568,904 increase for 2019 over 2018. That’s a two per cent increase year-over-year. The Police are looking for the biggest percentage increase with an additional 4.88 per cent, or $1.986 million, for their budget, while Wellington County’s budget ask is one per cent, or $232,000, smaller than last year.

The Elliott Community, which has 85 Long-Term Care Beds, 148 Retirement Suites, and 78 Life Lease Suites with over 350 Residents in three Buildings, is asking for a $39,077 increase over 2018. The Elliott is partially funded by the City to the tune of 17.9 per cent, and although the amortization period of the main building has had a positive effect on the bottom line, it has not increase the Community’s cash flow.

Over at Public Health, Guelph is being asked to contribute $77,379 more for 2019 to bring our annual contribution to $3,946,353, or 14.8 per cent of the Unit’s total budget. With no increase from the main funder, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Public Health just needs the extra money to keep services levels where they presently are.

Downtown with the DGBA, the budget for 2019 is $673,910, which is a 2.8 per cent increase or $18,500 over 2018. Payroll, along with general and admin expenses are driving the year-over-year increase, but “other revenue” is also down by just over $30,000 for the year ahead. Because of that, the DGBA will be cutting back on marketing and promotion expenses, and a couple of other expenditures for the coming year.

As mentioned above, the Police are looking for a 4.88 per cent increase, and a lot of that is in the realm of six new full-time equivalent (FTE) positions including two Courts Special Constables, two Sexual Assault & Child Abuse Unit, one Network Technician, and a frontline officer. Part of what’s driving the budget this year is an expectation of changes to the collective bargaining agreement, and increased cost to benefits. There are also vehicle repairs, legal expenses, and some new impacts from capital costs (the police headquarters is still being renovated after all).

The library remains busier than ever, and will likely be even busier in 2019, but the Guelph Public Library is only asking for a $274,000, or three per cent, increase for the year for a budget of $9,363,062. Security costs remain on the books after the 2018 pilot of having guards on site, and there’s the usual increases in compensation, purchased goods, and repairs and maintenance.

Finally, Social Services from the Country of Wellington will see the City of Guelph cover $22.7 million of the total $30.5 million portion of the budget covered by the municipalities. This covers Social and Affordable Housing, Ontario Works, and Children’s Early Years. It’s under the Children’s Early Years services that the cost savings are found thanks to increased parent fee revenue, and the fact that proposed expansions are 100 per cent funded by the Provincial government. For 2019, the County will spend $35.4 million for social housing, $29.6 million for Ontario Works, and $27.5 million for Children’s Early Years for a combined $94.6 million budget.

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