Budget 2019

Consultation has concluded


The budget is the City's plan for the coming period, expressed in dollars. The draft budget prepared by staff is the culmination of ongoing engagement on public priorities throughout the year starting with the strategic plan followed by master plans, public meetings, online engagement, and informal feedback. The budget is prepared taking into consideration both this community input and direction from City Council. The staff proposed budget is then taken to the City’s Budget and Audit Committee for review and comment, and then brought to Cambridge City Council.

On March 4, 2019, Cambridge City Council approved the 2019 operating budget with a 2.38 per cent tax rate increase representing an impact of $32 per average household with an assessment value of $310,000.

The City’s water utility budget was approved representing a combined increase for water and wastewater of 4.31 per cent or $48 for the year for the average household consuming 204 cubic meters of water annually. This increase is less than the projected increase due to a significant reduction in water loss through investment in the city’s water and sewer infrastructure.

Further, the City’s capital investment budget including $61.8 million in capital investment was also approved, aligned with the city’s strategic plan with a focus on the areas of Community Wellbeing, Arts, Culture, Heritage and Architecture, and Transportation and Infrastructure.

Special thank you those who participated in the 2019 budget process. For more information, visit www.cambridge.ca/budget.


The budget is the City's plan for the coming period, expressed in dollars. The draft budget prepared by staff is the culmination of ongoing engagement on public priorities throughout the year starting with the strategic plan followed by master plans, public meetings, online engagement, and informal feedback. The budget is prepared taking into consideration both this community input and direction from City Council. The staff proposed budget is then taken to the City’s Budget and Audit Committee for review and comment, and then brought to Cambridge City Council.

On March 4, 2019, Cambridge City Council approved the 2019 operating budget with a 2.38 per cent tax rate increase representing an impact of $32 per average household with an assessment value of $310,000.

The City’s water utility budget was approved representing a combined increase for water and wastewater of 4.31 per cent or $48 for the year for the average household consuming 204 cubic meters of water annually. This increase is less than the projected increase due to a significant reduction in water loss through investment in the city’s water and sewer infrastructure.

Further, the City’s capital investment budget including $61.8 million in capital investment was also approved, aligned with the city’s strategic plan with a focus on the areas of Community Wellbeing, Arts, Culture, Heritage and Architecture, and Transportation and Infrastructure.

Special thank you those who participated in the 2019 budget process. For more information, visit www.cambridge.ca/budget.

Consultation has concluded
  • What is the difference between Operating, Water, and Capital Budgets?

    9 months ago

    The tax-supported operating budget covers the daily costs of running City services, excluding water and sewer services. These costs include staff salaries, program materials and supplies, and utility costs. After user fees and funding from other levels of government, the primary source of funds to pay for the costs in the operating budget is the tax levy - your property taxes.

    The water utility budget is very similar to the operating budget, but focuses specifically on the daily costs associated with delivering clean drinking water and the treatment of wastewater. The primary source of funds to pay for these costs...

    The tax-supported operating budget covers the daily costs of running City services, excluding water and sewer services. These costs include staff salaries, program materials and supplies, and utility costs. After user fees and funding from other levels of government, the primary source of funds to pay for the costs in the operating budget is the tax levy - your property taxes.

    The water utility budget is very similar to the operating budget, but focuses specifically on the daily costs associated with delivering clean drinking water and the treatment of wastewater. The primary source of funds to pay for these costs is your water utility bill which includes a portion for water and a portion for wastewater.

    The capital budget is the City's capital investment plan, covering repairs and renovations to existing City assets, as well as the building or acquiring of new assets through growth or economic investment. The projects proposed under the Capital Investment Plan are funded from a combination of taxes, water and sewer rates, development charges, gas tax funding from the federal government, debt, and other reserve funds.

  • How does the budget affect me?

    9 months ago

    Part of the budget process includes setting the City's user fees and charges for the coming period. These fees may be charged when someone uses a service from the City such as recreation registration, facility rentals, cemetery services, permits and fines.

    User fees and charges don't cover all of the City's costs though, and the difference is made up by the tax levy. This is the amount of money that we raise for the year through the City's portion of the property tax bill. Property taxes pay for services where it wouldn't be practical to charge individual users each...

    Part of the budget process includes setting the City's user fees and charges for the coming period. These fees may be charged when someone uses a service from the City such as recreation registration, facility rentals, cemetery services, permits and fines.

    User fees and charges don't cover all of the City's costs though, and the difference is made up by the tax levy. This is the amount of money that we raise for the year through the City's portion of the property tax bill. Property taxes pay for services where it wouldn't be practical to charge individual users each time they use the service (e.g. roadways, sidewalks and parks).

    Property taxes may also be used in some cases to subsidize the cost of a service to keep it affordable for the community who uses the service (e.g. arenas and pools) and in cases where it is an investment in the City's economic growth (e.g. external funding, economic development).

    There are two main bills that property owners receive from the City of Cambridge; these are your property tax bill and your water utility bill.

    Your tax bill includes a city portion, region portion and school board portion. Of the money collected through the tax bill, the City receives 36 per cent.

    Your water bill includes a city portion and region portion. The Region of Waterloo is responsible for water and wastewater treatment, while the City is responsible for the water and sewer networks. Of the money collected through the water bill, the city receives 59 percent.


  • What is the budget process?

    9 months ago

    Step 1 - Preparation

    The City budget is the culmination of ongoing engagement on public priorities throughout the year starting with the strategic plan followed by master plans, public meetings, online engagement, and informal feedback. The budget is prepared taking into consideration both this community input and direction from City Council.

    Step 2 - Internal staff review

    Following preparation of the budget, the capital budget is reviewed by an internal Capital Budget Working Group, consisting of senior management representatives throughout the corporation. This group reviews capital priority rankings, in order to prioritize projects within funding constraints for all 10 years...

    Step 1 - Preparation

    The City budget is the culmination of ongoing engagement on public priorities throughout the year starting with the strategic plan followed by master plans, public meetings, online engagement, and informal feedback. The budget is prepared taking into consideration both this community input and direction from City Council.

    Step 2 - Internal staff review

    Following preparation of the budget, the capital budget is reviewed by an internal Capital Budget Working Group, consisting of senior management representatives throughout the corporation. This group reviews capital priority rankings, in order to prioritize projects within funding constraints for all 10 years of the capital forecast.

    Step 3 - Strategic alignment

    The budget is the reviewed by the City's Corporate Leadership Team - the senior-most level of administration at the City. The Corporate Leadership Team ensures the budget aligns with the strategic plan and Council direction.

    Step 4 - Public info series

    The Budget Info Series is the step in the process that ensures the community has the opportunity to learn more about the budget before taking it to the Budget and Audit Committee for approval.

    Step 5 - Budget and Audit Committee

    After taking into consideration feedback gathered from all previous steps, the draft budget is then presented to the Budget and Audit Committee for review and alterations where necessary.

    Step 6 - City Council

    When the Budget and Audit Committee is satisfied with a draft of the budget, it is then presented to Cambridge City Council for final approval.


  • Who does what? Services overview

    9 months ago

    In addition to federal and provincial services, Cambridge residents and businesses receive services from two levels of local government - the City of Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo.

    Below is an outline of the general services provided by the City and Regional levels of government.

    City of Cambridge

    Community Wellbeing (fire services, city-wide emergency planning, Service Cambridge, bylaw enforcement, cemeteries, crossing guards)

    Governance and Leadership (corporate finance, corporate administration, risk management, technology services)

    Arts, Culture, Heritage and Architecture (libraries (Idea Exchange), policy planning, special events, farmers' market)

    Environment and Rivers (forestry, horticulture, stormwater management, water and wastewater)

    Parks and...

    In addition to federal and provincial services, Cambridge residents and businesses receive services from two levels of local government - the City of Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo.

    Below is an outline of the general services provided by the City and Regional levels of government.

    City of Cambridge

    Community Wellbeing (fire services, city-wide emergency planning, Service Cambridge, bylaw enforcement, cemeteries, crossing guards)

    Governance and Leadership (corporate finance, corporate administration, risk management, technology services)

    Arts, Culture, Heritage and Architecture (libraries (Idea Exchange), policy planning, special events, farmers' market)

    Environment and Rivers (forestry, horticulture, stormwater management, water and wastewater)

    Parks and Recreation (aquatics, leisure and youth programs, parks, arenas, older adult services)

    Economic Development and Tourism (business attraction and retention, business licensing, employment land development, planning services, tourism)

    Transportation and Infrastructure (roads, winter maintenance, asset management, facilities management, traffic, transportation, parking, engineering services)

    Region of Waterloo

    Public Health and Social Services (including harm reduction and affordable housing)

    Regional Police and Emergency Response Services (paramedics)

    Regional Planning (including environmental and economic development)

    Waste Management and Water/Wastewater Treatment

    Regional Transportation (including Waterloo Regional International Airport, Grand River Transit, ION and regional roads)

    Learn more