Guelph/Eramosa approves budget, 4.9% tax increase

BRUCEDALE – Guelph/Eramosa residents will see township taxes increase by about 4.93 per cent this year. 

The township passed its 2024 budget of $20,849,341 on Jan. 15. 

The tax levy portion of this year’s budget is $8,734,499, up from last year’s $8,224,171.

The 4.93% tax increase will equate to about $69 more annually for homes assessed at $500,000. 

This does not include the county or education portions of tax bills. 

The total township budget includes an operating budget of $16,203,313, a capital budget of $4,364,000 and an infrastructure renewal levy of $330,000. 

The total budget is $47,972 less than was proposed on Nov. 22; the capital budget and infrastructure renewal levy stayed the same but the operating budget decreased by $47,972. 

Finance director Linda Cheyne told the Advertiser this decrease is due to insurance renewal costs being less than expected. 

“While the current increase is higher than we’d like, we are still dealing with inflationary pressures and a significant infrastructure deficit,” Mayor Chris White said of the 2024 tax increase.

“Our goal is to provide the municipal services people need and want at a reasonable cost.”

This includes maintenance of 225km of roads, 30 bridges and culvert structures, seven township facilities and 82 hectares of open space. 

During 2024, the municipality will be spending on asset management, enhancing the safety of bridges and upgrading roads, officials say.

Significant cost pressures on this year’s budget include increased:

  • wages and salaries (up by 3.8% to adjust for increased cost of living);
  • employee benefit costs; and
  • City of Guelph fire protection services. 

Big-ticket capital items in the budget include:

  • resurfacing Fife Road ($740,000 from the OCIF);
  • resurfacing Skyway Drive ($226,000 from the CCBF);
  • Catherine Street Railway watermain crossing ($750,000 from development charges);
  • Alma Street watermain replacement ($245,000 from reserves);
  • water treatment supervisory control and data acquisition system upgrades ($120,00 from reserves);
  • self-contained breathing apparatus replacements for firefighters ($317,000 from reserves);
  • road grader lease buyout ($239,000 from reserves);
  • tandem axle plow sander replacement ($404,000 from reserves);
  • single-axle plow sander replacement ($180,000 from reserves); and
  • Brucedale shop replacement design ($150,000 from reserves).

A number of these items are carried over from previous budgets. 

The $20.6-million budget will be covered by:

  • water and wastewater user rates and development charges ($5 million);
  • other development charges, user fees, grants and reserves ($7.1 million); and
  • property taxes ($8.5 million).

The first tax instalment for Guelph/Eramosa property owners is due on Feb. 29. 

The second half is due on May 31.