Guelph budget ‘the toughest’ ever, mayor says

Guelph city hall. Matt Carty / Global News

Guelph residents won’t be facing a double-digit property tax hike, but they can still expect the city’s budget will have an impact on their wallets.

City council passed the multi-year budget during a special meeting on Nov. 29. Property taxes will go up 8.52 per cent, less than a proposed 10.32 per cent in the draft budget released on Nov. 3.

In a news release, the city said the average household will see another $31 to $38 dollars per month on their tax bill.

While council was able to trim the original rate increase down, Mayor Cam Guthrie said this year’s budget deliberations were the toughest he has ever been through as a member of council.

“It is not something that I am looking at continuing over the next few years of this term,” Guthrie said on the high rate increases. “But that was the reality that is not only hitting Guelph but other municipalities in Ontario.”

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The operating budget in 2024 will include $556.28 million in expenditures. The budget forecast increases between $40 million and $48 million each year from 2025 to 2027. The tax hikes will mean a 9.97 per cent jump in 2025, 8.03 per cent in 2026, and 7.33 per cent in 2027.

Council holds a budget confirmation bylaw vote each year. Guthrie, for one, said he will never confirm a budget based solely on the budget forecast.

“It’s going to need such attention and focus to try to figure out how to bring a much more affordable budget for confirming,” said Guthrie.

Part of the process in bringing the final budget number down involved the deferral, cancellation, downsizing of some capital projects. But the multi-year budget will still have $1.26 billion in capital investments.

Guthrie said council was also able to make room for things like affordable housing and addressing homelessness in the city.

“There’s an extra $4 million going towards homelessness issues,” said Guthrie. “We continue imbedding in the base budget the affordable bus pass. And when it comes to helping to back affordable housing and supportive housing, we are on the forefront of that.”

Details about the 2024-2027 Guelph City Budget can be found here.



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