Financial reports

Learn more about the city's financial position, and download audited annual statements and spending reports.


On this page

  1. Financial dashboard
  2. Annual financial statements
  3. Capital reports

Financial dashboard

Each year we publish a 'dashboard' to show how the city is doing financially. It simplifies city finances into four categories with various measures for each. Below we have shown one measure per category. A detailed report with all current measures (PDF) is also available.

Overall financial position

Our financial situation is improving and we're able to meet out debt obligations. Our annual tax-based operating surplus to budget is low, requiring ongoing monitoring of financial results.

Measurement

This is measured using 'operating surplus/deficit.' It shows:

  • how much tax-based revenue is left over after normal annual operating expenses are deducted
  • if the city is setting aside enough money for longer-term expenses
Target and results

The target is to be above zero, in a surplus. If the measure is below zero, the city is not setting aside enough money to fund annual amortization expenses 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We've had an operating deficit in nine out of the last ten years. This indicates the city is currently not able to cover the cost of annual amortization of its assets from its own funds. This is contributing to the infrastructure deficit.

This is a common issue as cities have not traditionally budgeted for asset amortization out of operating budgets, but have used capital reserve contributions instead.

Economic growth

With limited land for brand new developments, Waterloo relies on 'intensification' for continued economic growth. This means new buildings are usually constructed in areas that are already built up.

Measurement

These developments are measured using 'assessment growth' - the addition of tax revenue from new properties for a city and an indicator of a healthy local economy.

Target and results

There is no specific target, but the city is monitoring this trend over time to ensure the continued economic health of the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, the city has steady economic growth. Construction along the light rail line has caused spikes in recent years as several large multi-residential buildings have been added to the tax base.

There was a large increase in 2017, for example, with 2018 coming in below the five-year rolling average. The rolling average is a statistical tool used to show the direction of the overall trend.

Reserve levels

Reserve funds stabilize tax rates, fund one-time expenses and provide flexibility to protect our financial position. Cities need to save enough to build or replace assets as required and spread out the cost over many years to prevent sudden tax increases. 

Measurement

This measure shows the amount contributed to reserve funds in a given year compared to the ongoing costs of asset amortization, such as a city-owned vehicle losing its value over time.

Target and results

At a minimum we should contribute enough reserve funds to match annual amortization costs. 

Ideally we should be saving slightly more because amortization is based on historic costs and assets need to be replaced at current cost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2018 the city funded several large projects that reduced its capital reserves.

While the long-term trend is positive for tax based contributions, reserve levels may still not be high enough to replace assets such as roads and buildings on a timely basis. Reserves on the water and wastewater side fare better, although the ratio is deteriorating. These both contribute to the ongoing city infrastructure deficit.

The city's asset management plan provides data on long-term funding needs. Staff are developing a long term financial strategy to address these needs as part of the 2020 budget process.

Debt

Our debt to reserves ratio and debt interest as a percentage of revenue are much higher than our provincial comparator groups.

The city ranks well for water/wastewater debt compared to the provincial median. The overall trend for tax-funded debt is improving since the city has minimized new borrowing, but we need to stay the course.  

Measurement

This measure shows total tax-funded debt per resident, which is useful in determining a city’s fiscal sustainability.

Target and results

The trend should be decreasing over time as existing debt is paid off and the population grows. New debt issued should be less than existing debt that is paid off and should not exceed the rate of population growth. The city should not exceed its provincial comparator group in the long term. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This ratio has been improving since 2009. Due to existing debt, however, the city exceeds the provincial average for municipalities with over 50,000 people. This indicates that the city needs to stay the course in minimizing new debt issues.

Annual statements

These statements tell the story of our financial position at the end of each calendar year. An independent accounting firm audits them and we publish the previous year's statement in May.

To help understand financial statements, use this common language guide.

Past financial statements are available by request. Contact 519-747-8774 or finance@waterloo.ca.

Capital reports

We report on capital spending to tell the story of how building projects benefit the community over the course of a calendar year.

If you require a capital report in an alternate format, contact 519-747-8774, 1-866-786-3941 (TTY) or finance@waterloo.ca.