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Proposed 2.19 per cent levy included in Guelph’s 2020 capital budget

The 10-year forecast shows Guelph plans to spend $1.9 billion by 2029 on capital projects.
The 10-year forecast shows Guelph plans to spend $1.9 billion by 2029 on capital projects. Matt Carty / CJOY News

Guelph city council are starting off seven weeks of 2020 budget talks with the capital budget and 10-year forecast.

During a meeting at city hall on Wednesday night, councillors are expected to hear a presentation from staff along with delegates who have signed up to speak.

READ MORE: Guelph police board approves $46 million 2020 budget

The capital budget for 2020 is pegged at $151.6 million, which represents a 75 per increase over the 2019 capital budget.

“This is driven by a number of large life-cycle projects and an overall increase in the level of investment in infrastructure renewal across the organization,” staff said in their report being presented to council.

The city said 78 per cent of the budget will fund infrastructure renewal projects. Another 15 per cent is for growth initiatives that will be funded mostly through development charges.

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Another seven per cent is to fund city-building projects. New to this year’s capital budget is $500,000 to help Guelph reach its goal of being 100 per cent net zero by 2050.

The 10-year forecast shows Guelph plans to spend $1.9 billion by 2029 on capital projects.

Is Guelph, Ont.’s city council producing ‘The Office’ spinoff?
Is Guelph, Ont.’s city council producing ‘The Office’ spinoff?

But the report going to council shows Guelph will have a shortfall of $52.1 million over the next decade and staff is recommending city council approve a 2.19 per cent levy to be phased in over three years.

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That includes 0.86 per cent council already approved to fund the new library.

The levy could be reduced if the city secures funding from other sources, such as upper levels of government.

The report said staff tried looking at delaying or reducing the size of projects in order to cut into that shortfall.

“Deferring or reducing the scope of projects would have a significant impact on council’s overall vision and, in some cases, is not viable due to project timing and integration with other city asset renewal or growth priorities,” staff said in the report.

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After Wednesday night’s meeting, city council is scheduled to deliberate and vote on the budget and forecast during a meeting on Nov. 13.

The capital budget, which can be read on the city’s website, is one of four being presented to council.

READ MORE: Guelph proposing 2.6 per cent increase to water bills in 2020

The city’s non-tax supported budget was released earlier this month and will be presented to council on Oct. 30. It proposes a 2.6 per cent increase to residential water bills in 2020.

The city’s tax-supported operating budget, which is funded through property taxes, will be released on Nov. 7.