City council approves the city’s capital and operating budgets. The capital budget covers building and rebuilding things such as roads, city facilities, or buying new vehicles. The operating budget covers the daily expenses of delivering municipal services, such as salaries and wages, supplies and energy costs.

Watch: how a city budget works (3:28)

The city works on two different budget cycles during the four-year term of city council. In year one, a single-year budget is passed. This is followed by a three-year budget covering the rest of the term.

2019 budget

Through a balanced, carefully-planned city budget, Waterloo delivers valuable services and programs to residents. It's a challenge to find the right balance between delivering the services residents expect and finding efficiencies while effectively managing the tax rates. 

Key dates for 2019 budget

Date City of Waterloo
December 10, 2018
  • proposed budget, related documents and reports are tabled with council and released to the public
  • proposed city utility service rates for 2019 are tabled with council for their consideration and approval on Jan. 21, 2019
  • proposed rental housing rates for 2019 is tabled with council for their approval
December 11, 2018
  • public engagement takes place until February 15, 2019
  • we're interested in better understanding what information you would like to know about our budget and budget process and how to better communicate it
January 14, 21, 28, 2019
  • department business plans are presented to council 
January 21, 2019
  • city utility rates for 2019 are approved by council and are effective February 1, 2019
February 4, 2019
  • capital budget is presented to council for consideration on February 11, 2019
February 11, 2019
  • operating and capital budget approved and a nine-year capital forecast for 2020 to 2028 is approved in principle

New for 2019 is the Budget in Brief (PDF), which provides a quick snapshot of the 2019 proposed budget including the budget goals, key investments and budget allocations by major service delivery areas.  

Operating budget

Operating Budget Book

The operating budget covers the daily expenses of delivering municipal services such as snow removal, sewer maintenance, fire protection, bylaw enforcement, road maintenance and repairs and more, and the proposed budget for 2019 can be referenced in the key documents listed below under the operating budget book.

Capital budget

Capital Budget Book

The capital budget covers building and rebuilding things such as roads, sewers, parks, city facilities and buying equipment and vehicles, and the proposed budget for 2019 and forecasted budget for 2020-2028 can be referenced in the key documents listed below.

Additional info

On Monday December 10, 2018, the 2019 budget was released to council and the public. View the accompanying presentations here:

A number of policies and plans (and the public engagement associated with these initiatives) contributed to the city's proposed budget and 2015 to 2018 strategic plan which saw more than 1,200 residents and stakeholders consulted to help set priorities for the city. Where the strategic plan leaves off, is where business planning begins at the department level which in turn, drives the budget process and strategic objectives. The 2019 Business Plans can be referenced here: 2019 Business Plans

Many other budget related reports contribute to the development of the city's budget and are referenced here:

Budget Release Council Reports:

Budget Related Council Reports

2019 Business Plans

The material listed below is available in alternative formats upon request. Contact Heather Lagonia at 519-747-8774, TTY (for deaf) 1-866-786-3941 or heather.lagonia@waterloo.ca. Three to five business days may be required for assistance.

Tell us what you think

We're interested in understanding how to better communicate budget information. Between December 11, 2018 and February 15, 2019, visit Engage Waterloo and tell us what you think.

Past budgets

Budget information prior to 2016 is available by request. Contact 519-747-8774 or budget@waterloo.ca.

2016 to 2018 budgets

In February 2016, council approved a three-year operating and capital budget for 2016 to 2018. The operating budget includes efficiencies of $850,000 and supports the operation of all city services. The capital budget includes large investments in road construction, stormwater rehabilitation, the uptown community improvement plan and park expansion.

Rate increases included:

Year Property tax % increase City water rate % increase
2018 2.1* 2.31
2017 2.3 3.62
2016 2.2 2.61

* Due to increased revenue in 2017, council reviewed the 2018 budget and reduced the property tax increase from 2.4 to 2.1 percent.

Supporting documents