Waterloo city council approves 2020-2022 budget

Posted On Tuesday February 11, 2020

Yesterday, Waterloo city council approved the 2020-2022 three year operating and capital budgets and the seven-year capital forecast for 2023-2029, in principle.

Council also approved an average annual property tax rate increase of 1.8% for base services and operating impacts of capital, along with an average annual increase of 1.5% for service level changes and additional infrastructure investment for a total tax increase, on average, over the next three years of 3.3%. A Waterloo home with an average assessed value of $394,400 will pay $1,421 annually by 2022. This represents an increase to an average household of $44.13 per year in property taxes.

A net operating budget of $79 million in 2020; $83 million in 2021 and $87 million in 2022 was also approved by council. The city’s operating budget supports many important services and projects throughout the city including snow removal, sewer maintenance, fire protection, bylaw enforcement, road maintenance and repairs, parks, recreation, culture and leisure services and youth and older adult programming. The approved operating budget included $2.4 million in efficiencies, cost savings and other revenue solutions including facility energy savings of $300,000, hotel tax revenue of $250,000 and LED streetlight electricity savings of $83,000, to name a few.

Some items approved in the three-year operating budget include:

  • preventative maintenance funding to help assets reach their intended useful life and reduce the risk of premature asset failure
  • increased infrastructure funding to assist closing the $17 million average annual funding gap for tax-based assets
  • funding for the future operating expenses of the new east side branch library ($492,440 from assessment growth and $474,168 from taxes)
  • $100,000 to support affordable housing and council further demonstrated leadership in addressing the affordability challenge in our community by approving the funding that allows the city to pay a living wage
  • Environmental initiatives including the addition of a new energy manager to help the city meet its greenhouse gas emission targets and develop and implement energy reduction initiatives and eliminating the sale of individual plastic water bottles in its facilities. It will mean a reduction of $25,000 in net revenue to the city

Combined water, sewer and stormwater rate increase including monthly service charge was approved 3.9% for 2020(1.4% increase from the Region of Waterloo, plus 2.5% increase from the City of Waterloo) on Jan. 13, 2020 and effective Feb. 1, 2020. Impact to the average household is an increase of $43.71 per year ($17.88 is the region’s portion and $25.83 is the city’s portion).

The capital budget covers the costs of buying new assets or fixing existing ones, including roads, sewers, parks, fire stations, arenas, parking lots, stormwater management ponds, fleet replacement and more. A total of $275 million was approved for capital spending for the next three years. Capital spending highlights include:

  • $69.2 million for road and associated bike lanes and sidewalks construction and rehabilitation including a new collector road on Ira Needles Boulevard between the Boardwalk and Erb Street
  • $20.0 million for economic and land development initiatives including the development of the west side employment lands
  • $8.6 million of park expansion/rehabilitation, sidewalks and trails including four new action sports park developments and three neighbourhood-based splash pads throughout the city
  • $3.0 million in facility expansion and refurbishment including the design and installation of lighting systems and reconfiguration of ball diamonds at RIM Park to support the needs of user groups
  • $2.6 million in energy management and environmental planning and management including the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions community-wide to 80% below the 2010 levels by 2050.

Additional information about the 2020-2022 budget, including the Budget in Brief, departmental business plans and a roadmap to assist in navigating the budget documents and processes can be found at waterloo.ca/budget.


Media contact:
Tony Iavarone
Communications director
TTY: 1-866-786-3941

Finance contact:
Filipa Reynolds
Deputy chief financial officer and director of financial planning
TTY: 1-866-786-3941