City of Waterloo invests in a future-ready city for everyone with three year budget

Posted On Monday February 12, 2024

City of Waterloo council debated and used options to reduce the staff tabled budget in adopting the final 2024-2026 three year operating and capital budgets, including the seven year capital forecast for 2027-2033, in principle. The three year budget supports existing programs and services, as well as service delivery enhancements and additions based on the Strategic Plan, operating funding to support new capital assets and continued investment in infrastructure renewal.

The budget includes property tax increases of:

  • 6.14% in 2024 — average increase of $91 per household
  • 6.34% in 2025 — average increase of $99 per household
  • 6.41% in 2026 — average increase of $107 per household

“This budget reflects extensive community engagement and commitment to our Strategic Plan, and thoughtful, responsive decision-making of staff and Council. We believe that this three year budget supports the city that we are, and the city that we want to be,” said Councillor Diane Freeman, Finance Liaison for the City of Waterloo. “This budget supports the programs and services that citizens depend on, and that make the City of Waterloo the vibrant and welcoming community of choice for so many. The adjustments we were able to make to the staff-tabled budget provide respectful consideration for the financial challenges we are all facing, and will still allow us to make progress on the important issues, including infrastructure investment and reinvestment, housing, and climate action. We are focused on our vision of being a leader in sustainability and a future-ready community for all.”

A net operating budget of $99.6 million in 2024; $107.0 million in 2025 and $115.0 million in 2026 was adopted by council, and capital spending of a total of $363 million was approved for the capital budget over the next three years ($137.4 million in 2024, $114.3 million in 2025 and $111.4 million in 2026) to support 275 projects.

The investments in the operating and capital budgets support the City of Waterloo strategic priorities of Reconciliation, Equity, Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Action, Complete Community, Infrastructure and Transportation Systems and Innovation and Future- Ready, including:


  • Improving winter mobility for everyone by prioritizing the clearing of City-maintained trails near schools, phasing in crews and equipment to tackle the snow that accumulates at high use crosswalks and intersections, and piloting clearing sidewalks in areas where there are no boulevards for snow storage.
  • Transforming our facilities to meet our greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of net-zero, by incorporating deep energy retrofits and low-carbon electrification of mechanical systems into the necessary upgrades at our buildings.
  • Advancing the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy, planning for and promoting a greater supply and mix of housing, providing incentives to build affordable housing, while responding to provincial legislation and policies, and examining trends to identify other incentives for affordable and attainable housing.
  • Implementing the Fire Services Master Plan, phasing in the hiring of firefighters and the vehicles, equipment and expansion needed to support public safety needs as our community grows, while expanding fire safety education and fire code enforcement activities that consider the needs of our postsecondary students, older adults and our diverse population with English as an additional language.
  • Expanding the City's active transportation network with additional kilometres of multi-use trails and paths, more sidewalks and new cycling facilities, and upgrading existing infrastructure with pedestrian lighting and other trail improvements.
  • Improving customer service by increasing the user-friendly and accessible digital service options on the website.
  • Investing in new assets and fixing existing ones, including roads, sewers, parks, fire stations, arenas, parking lots, stormwater management ponds, fleet replacement and more to support the city’s infrastructure
  • Continuing to fund the Waterloo Public Library, City of Waterloo Museum, and increased local arts initiatives.
  • Managing associated cost pressures from other levels of government, including support for newcomers, older adults and post-secondary students, and the additional concerns the city has taken on, including increased planning responsibility and pressures, additional funding for economic development, and to help address the issue of homelessness. 

The 2024-2026 City of Waterloo tax levy rates include base budget amounts (2.51% in 2024, 3.05% in 2025 and 2.85% in 2026) and operating impacts of capital and growth (0.86% in 2024, 0.79% in 2025 and 0.64% in 2026), all at less than the current rate of inflation. Rates also include service level increases in support of the City’s strategic priorities (2.02% in 2024, 1.76% in 2025 and 2.19% in 2026) and increased infrastructure investment (0.75% in 2024, 0.74% in 2025 and 0.73% in 2026).

Additional information about the 2024-2026 budget can be found at      



Media contact:

Cari Van Niekerk

Director, Corporate Communications

Finance contact:

Brad Witzel

Director, Financial Planning and Asset Management