It's crunch time for the 2013 budget deliberations, but there's still a lot of debating to be done. The city sent a press release updating the situation today.
You can read the press release for yourself, after the jump:
GUELPH, ON, November 21, 2012 – Guelph’s proposed $186 million tax-supported operating budget will be presented to City Council on Thursday, November 22 at 6 p.m.
To allow the City to deliver public services better and build a thriving future for Guelph, staff proposes a 2.74 per cent tax levy increase to support base services and a further 1 per cent to implement strategic initiatives designed to strengthen how the City works. In total, the 3.74 per cent increase amounts to $6.7 million.
"This budget allows us to continue delivering valuable municipal programs and services, while updating and modernizing City systems," said Al Horsman, chief financial officer. "In addition to maintaining Guelph’s aging buildings, roads, water systems, parks, trails and trees, we’re proposing strategic investments to ensure Guelph residents continue to enjoy the highest possible quality of life as the city grows."
Significant impacts on the 2013 budget include negotiated compensation costs and a $1.9 million increase in fuel, heat and electricity costs. To address increasing energy prices, the City plans to implement a Corporate Energy Management Plan to reduce energy costs by at least $83,000 next year and $166,000 per year thereafter. The plan is one of several strategic initiatives recommended in the 2013 budget to avoid costs, optimize systems and improve relationships. Other initiatives include:
- A $137,800 investment in the Community Wellbeing Plan—a 10-year action plan for individuals, community partners and the City to work together to create a community where people can live life to the fullest.
- A $998,100 capital investment and $488,400 in operating costs to implement Corporate Technology Plan to provide easier, quicker access to City information, more opportunities for community engagement and open government principles to enhance transparency and accountability.
- Initiate the business plan for Guelph Municipal Holding Company to improve asset management, create opportunities to generate revenue and explore funding models designed to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
The City’s 2013-22 Capital Budget was presented on October 3, and the 2013 Non Tax-Supported Enterprise Budget (Water and Wastewater Services, Ontario Building Code Administration and Provincial Offences Court Administration) was approved on October 24.
The local boards and shared services budget (Guelph Public Library Board, Public Health, Social Services and Social Housing, Downtown Guelph Business Association and Guelph Police Services Board) will be presented on Tuesday, November 27.
Community members are welcome to attend all budget presentations, and registered delegations may address Council on Thursday, November 29. Council will deliberate and vote on tax-supported operating and capital budgets on Wednesday, December 5.