Budget 2021

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two winter shovels - one blue, one orange

The spread of COVID-19 is creating financial challenges for people and businesses across our community. We've taken steps throughout 2020 to provide financial relief to citizens and mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic without impacting the services that residents rely on every day.

At the same time, we're still committed to advance the priorities that matter to Kitchener residents through the shared goals of our strategic plan. Through innovative thinking, community partnerships and the support of residents, we've been able to make tremendous progress towards our strategic goals.

For the average household in Kitchener, the proposed rate increases for 2021 are:

  • Property tax increase is 1.1 per cent or $12/year
  • Water utilities increase is 0.9 per cent or $11/year
  • Gas increase is 1.5 per cent or $11/year
  • Total impact - $34/year

Yearly costs estimates are based on a bungalow with an assessed average of $326,000, our current average.

This is lowest proposed increase to the average homeowner in more than a decade. To fully explain the context of our 2021 budget, we need to talk about the past, present and future. Learn more about the plan for 2021, the progress we've made and then take our survey using the tabs below. We want to know what you think of our approach.

The spread of COVID-19 is creating financial challenges for people and businesses across our community. We've taken steps throughout 2020 to provide financial relief to citizens and mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic without impacting the services that residents rely on every day.

At the same time, we're still committed to advance the priorities that matter to Kitchener residents through the shared goals of our strategic plan. Through innovative thinking, community partnerships and the support of residents, we've been able to make tremendous progress towards our strategic goals.

For the average household in Kitchener, the proposed rate increases for 2021 are:

  • Property tax increase is 1.1 per cent or $12/year
  • Water utilities increase is 0.9 per cent or $11/year
  • Gas increase is 1.5 per cent or $11/year
  • Total impact - $34/year

Yearly costs estimates are based on a bungalow with an assessed average of $326,000, our current average.

This is lowest proposed increase to the average homeowner in more than a decade. To fully explain the context of our 2021 budget, we need to talk about the past, present and future. Learn more about the plan for 2021, the progress we've made and then take our survey using the tabs below. We want to know what you think of our approach.

  • Budget overview

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    19 Nov 2020

    This is budget has the lowest combined household impact in a decade, following our policy of increases at or below the two-year average of inflation. To fully explain the context of our 2021 budget, we need to talk about the past, present and future.

    Looking for more detail? Read our full budget report to find out about the City's finances in 2021.

    PAST - Kitchener was well-prepared for this challenging budget year

    The City of Kitchener has a long track-record of responsible fiscal management, resulting from strong Council financial stewardship and prudent decision-making. Over the past decade, we have prepared the city for challenging financial times by:

    • Paying down debt
    • Building up reserves
    • Ensuring that taxes remain affordable and increases are consistently within the rate of inflation
    • Reducing reliance on unsustainable sources of revenue within the operating budget

    As a result, we are in a better position than many other municipalities to weather this storm without resorting to drastic cuts to valued city services.

    PRESENT - Kitchener took immediate action when the pandemic began

    When the pandemic began in March 2020, Kitchener took immediate action to exercise financial restraint and offset the drastic financial impacts of COVID-19. We:

    • Placed approximately 900 temporary staff (43% of workforce) on unpaid declared emergency leave
    • Deferred $21 million of capital spending to address cash flow concerns
    • Returned $1.3 million in capital funding to the operating budget to address operating-related shortfalls
    • Reduced overtime to the extent possible and reallocated staff to support the delivery of critical services
    • Froze discretionary spending, resulting in $1.1 million in savings
    • Required staff to fully utilize vacation balances to avoid additional staffing related measures
    • Planned to use stabilization reserves to offset projected deficits

    FUTURE - Kitchener is making intentional and balanced choices

    Kitchener is making balanced, intentional choices about the 2021 budget that are possible thanks to many years of fiscal prudence and responsible decision-making. Unlike some municipalities in Ontario, we have made the conscious decision not to cut valued community services when they are most needed. We are also focusing on demonstrating restraint on behalf of all members of the community while providing additional supports to the citizens who need it the most. This budget allows us to:

    • Respect our taxpayers by having the lowest proposed annual impact to the homeowner ($34 inclusive of tax, water, sewer, storm and natural gas rate changes) in the past decade
    • Maintain highly valued community programs and services – a priority for Kitchener citizens based on consistent feedback
    • Focus targeted financial support on our most vulnerable citizens by investing in resources to support business recovery, promote equity, diversity and inclusion and prioritize affordable housing
    • Continue to advance our strategic and community goals