If calculators and spreadsheets are your fetish, then this is the most wonderful time of the year for you! Budget season is finally here, and it’s extra special this year because this is the City of Guelph’s first ever multi-year budget!! The pressures of a growing city will meet the pressure of delivering something that’s affordable for the average Guelphite as we kick off the City’s second annual day-long budget presentation.
NOTE #1: There will be no delegates at this meeting.
NOTE #2: If you are interested in delegating on the budget, you’re chance will come at a special meeting of council on Thursday November 18. You will be able to appear at this meeting via telephone or video, but you do have to register with the clerks office before 10 am on November 12. You can also submit written delegations and correspondences for agenda items.
NOTE #3: The meeting will be closed to the public, though it will be live-streamed on the City of Guelph’s website here.
2022 and 2023 City Budget -So let’s get to the bottom line first, the gross expenditure of the City of Guelph budget is $48.1 million in 2022 and $50.1 million in 2023 respectively. That’s a 2.1 per cent levy increase in 2022, and on top of that there’s a 1.53 per cent increase from local boards and shared services, and the second installment of the $750,000 levy for upgrades to the Guelph General Hospital adds another 0.29 per cent. That brings the total levy up to 3.93 per cent over 2021.
For 2023, the total levy is 4.69 per cent over 2022 once you combine the base 2.85 per cent increase with the 1.84 per cent for local boards.
Along with the likely increase to your income tax bill, which may change depending on council deliberations and how and when they enact certain costs, there will be an increase to water, wastewater and stormwater users that will result in a 2.61 per cent increase in 2022 and a 2.86 per cent increase in 2023. That comes out to about a nickel each for water and wastewater, plus 60 cents more for stormwater for the average Guelph household.
So what do we get for these increases? As usual, much of the increase cost is coming from new FTEs to help implement the growing demand for City services. (Important note, one FTE does not necessarily mean one full-time hire.) Between the 2022 and 2023 budgets, there are 62.8 new FTEs including 10 positions for the Capital Program Resourcing Strategy, 5.2 FTEs for implementing road safety programs, and two FTEs will help expand transit mobility service. You can see the full list of suggest FTEs here.
In terms of expenditures, the budget also recommends an increase to the community benefit agreements for the Humane Society and the Neighbourhood Support Coalition; a new three-tiered affordable bus pass program; new investments in the Farmers’ Market; implementing the transit route review; implementing the Trails and Urban Forest Management Plans; investments in 100 per cent renewable energy; investments in customer service improvements; and just over $900,000 to phase in the operating costs of the new south end community centre and the new main library.
As noted above, the public delegation night for the budget is Thursday November 18, and you can sign up to delegate now. There will be a City of Guelph-hosted virtual town hall on Tuesday November 23, and city councillors will also be hosting their own town hall, including one already announced by the Ward 6 councillors on Wednesday November 24. The final budget approval will be on Thursday December 2 at 2 pm.