Learn how the budgeting process works and find out more about the current operating and capital budgets.

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Budget structure and process

Through a carefully planned budget we deliver valuable services to residents. In Waterloo there are two different budget cycles during a four-year term of city council:

  • in year one, a single-year budget is approved (such as 2019)
  • in years two to four, a three-year budget is approved (such as 2020 to 2022)

Budget priorities are guided by our strategic plan and direct engagement with the community. City departments then write business plans that reflect these priorities and inform the final budget that is presented to city council.

City council considers the budget proposed by staff and finally approves a capital and operating budget.

Capital covers building and rebuilding things such as roads, city facilities, or buying new vehicles. Operating covers the costs of delivering municipal services, such as salaries, supplies and electricity costs.

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

2019 budget overview

In February 2019, city council approved operating and capital budgets that included:

  • a net operating budget of $75 million
  • a capital budget of $105.3 million
  • a city property tax increase of 2.2 percent
  • a city utilities increase of 2.4 percent (city portion)

The 2019 Budget in Brief (PDF) shows how these funds will be invested into city services and infrastructure. 

The 2019 Business Plans (PDF) show how this budget connects to our strategic plan.

2019 budget documents (PDFs)

Detailed budget documents are provided below. If you require a document in a different format, contact Heather Lagonia at 519-747-8774, TTY (for deaf) 1-866-786-3941 or heather.lagonia@waterloo.ca.

Operating budget documents

Capital budget documents

Budget presentations

From December 10, 2018: 

Business plan presentations from January 2019:

Budget reports to city council

Past budgets

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

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