Budget 2019


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 2019 proposed rate changes and impact to the homeowner are calculated on an average house cost of $310,200.

The proposed 2019 rate changes are:

  • Property tax increase is 3.72 per cent or $50 annually.
  • Water utility increase is 4.31 per cent or $48 annually.

The total impact annually on the average household is $98.

In addition to the three info sessions we're holding on Jan. 21, 28 & 30, you can share your feedback on the 2019 budget online. Visit this page between Jan. 21 and Feb. 4 to share your priorities for the 2019 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 2019 proposed rate changes and impact to the homeowner are calculated on an average house cost of $310,200.

The proposed 2019 rate changes are:

  • Property tax increase is 3.72 per cent or $50 annually.
  • Water utility increase is 4.31 per cent or $48 annually.

The total impact annually on the average household is $98.

In addition to the three info sessions we're holding on Jan. 21, 28 & 30, you can share your feedback on the 2019 budget online. Visit this page between Jan. 21 and Feb. 4 to share your priorities for the 2019 budget.


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

    about 1 month 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?

    about 1 month 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?

    about 1 month 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

    about 1 month 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