City Staff have prepared two different documents. One contains a tax increase of 2.2 per cent the first year, and 1.8 per cent each of the following two years. This follows the inflation rate and would add about 26 dollars per year to the average Waterloo tax bill
The other goes above the rate of inflation with increases of 2.7 in 2016, 3.1 per cent in 2017 and 2.6 per cent in 2018. This would increase the average tax bill by about 37 dollars annually.
Neither one of these options is carved in stone. Council can add projects and services, or take them away as we go through the next couple of months before finalizing the budget in February.
You can have a look at all the budget documents, as well as take part in the Open City Hall Survey at www.waterloo.ca
There are, as you can well imagine, a lot of different moving parts to a budget for an organization like the City of Waterloo. In addition to city hall staff (the people who do the paperwork, and generally keep the corporation running) we also have outside workers (the people who cut the grass, maintain parks, enforce bylaws, etc) and of course, the city also funds the Fire department.
We are not, by the way, responsible for the police department, or garbage collection at your home.
It probably doesn't come as a surprise to you, that as a councilor, you tend to hear from a lot of special interest groups. I don't use that term in a bad way. it's just a group, which has a specific interest, and is lobbying to try to get the funding they want. There's nothing wrong with that. It is important to get perspectives from many different directions.
But there is a special interest group which doesn't get heard from. It's the every day person. The people who get up in the morning, get their kids off to school, go to work and then come back to their neighbourhood. Maybe you go to the park around the corner now and then, or once in a while go to a city facility. But you're not a member of a board, or a committee, or a group which has a closer tie to the municipal framework.
I'd like to hear from you too. Because no matter what you do, or your involvement, you're making an investment, and your voice matters.
I can't promise you're going to get everything you want. But we will listen.