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.

Overall financial position

The city's overall financial position is positive with a positive trend for the future.

Long-term projections indicate there will need to be more funding to replace important infrastructure. However, innovative programs such as the stormwater management utility fee and credit program provide dedicated funding for the city.

Our asset management plan provides recommendations for long-term funding for the capital budget.


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

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

The target should 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.


Operating Surplus/DeficitTax baseWater, Wastewater20112012201320142015201620172018201920202021-15,000,000-10,000,000-5,000,00005,000,00010,000,000
YearTax baseWater, Wastewater
2011 1,289,149 5,300,323
2012 -10,146,261 6,476,372
2013 -3,992,527 1,833,967
2014 -9,498,553 6,491,964
2015 -10,638,412 2,011,245
2016 -10,368,403 4,082,317
2017 -5,202,915 1,850,771
2018 -3,904,716 516,255
2019 32,136 2,667,999
2020 -3,729,886 4,290,196
2021 -819,165 2,514,085
Water, Wastewater

On the tax base side, we had an operating deficit most of the time over the last decade. 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.

On the water and wastewater side, an operating surplus historically allows for capital replacement needs based on current replacement value.

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 already built areas.


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.


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


Assessment Growth (%)Assessment Growth5 Year Rolling Average2009201020112012201320142015201620172018201920202021202201234
YearAssessment Growth5 Year Rolling Average
2009 0.91 2.23
2010 2.49 1.83
2011 2.12 1.71
2012 1.79 1.84
2013 2.92 2.05
2014 1.86 2.24
2015 1.75 2.09
2016 1.93 2.05
2017 3.89 2.47
2018 1.5 2.19
2019 2.78 2.37
2020 1.2 2.26
2021 1.06 2.09
2022 1.38 1.58

Assessment growth has slowed from single detached homes in subdivisions and now relies on in-filling projects.

There was a large increase in 2017 from large multi-residential buildings and proactive assessment management. In 2022, the 5-year rolling average was 1.58%.

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. 


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.


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

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


Capital Reserve Contributions as a % of AmortizationWater, WastewaterTax basedTarget200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020202101234
YearWater, WastewaterTax basedTarget
2009 2.81 0.66 1
2010 2.69 0.69 1
2011 2.6 0.72 1
2012 3.23 0.82 1
2013 1.67 0.85 1
2014 2.57 0.9 1
2015 2.66 0.97 1
2016 3 0.98 1
2017 3.15 1.13 1
2018 2.46 1.01 1
2019 1.52 1.32 1
2020 1.79 1.03 1
2021 2.06 1.18 1

On the water and wastewater side, the city has achieved this goal.

On the tax rate side, the city's contributions to capital reserves fell significantly short of the annual amortization amount, improving the ratio over time. The cumulative shortfall over the years impacts the city’s infrastructure deficit. 


Our debt is currently falling a bit short of the target level, and Waterloo has much higher debt levels than similar cities in Ontario.

The overall trend for tax-funded debt is improving since the city has shown discipline in minimizing additional debt issues. As a result, the approved ten-year capital budget includes limited new debt.


This measure shows the total tax-funded debt per resident, which helps determine a city’s fiscal sustainability.


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


Debt per Capita Tax SupportedDebt per Capita - Ta…Debt per Capita - Ta…Provincial Average…20102011201220132014201520162017201820192020202120220200400600800
YearDebt per Capita - Tax SupportedDebt per Capita - Tax Supported including StudentsProvincial Average >50K Population
2010 781 626 257
2011 702 555 281
2012 618 486 287
2013 621 478 288
2014 688 527 295
2015 654 494 311
2016 605 461 297
2017 579 466 291
2018 544 436 308
2019 531 412 288
2020 459 377 288
2021 402 343 294
2022 347 299 294

Debt per capita has been consistently improving over the years. Due to existing debt, the city has exceeded the provincial average for municipalities with over 50,000 people for many years. It is now approaching the provincial average.

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

Capital reports

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

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