City Council approves 2021 Budget: Our City. Our Future
Cambridge, Ontario – Cambridge City Council approved the 2021 Budget and Business Plan this evening, concluding the 2021 Budget process.
Council approved a property tax increase of 1.27 per cent, which is less than the forecasted cost of inflation, and represents $17.95/year for the average household. It is the lowest tax rate in the City of Cambridge in the last decade. Council also voted to keep water utility rates the same in 2021.
“This is a sensible budget that reflects our current financial circumstances due to the unprecedented and challenging situation we have found ourselves in this year,” said Mayor Kathryn McGarry. “Throughout this process, our mission has been to lessen the tax burden on our residents and to support the road to economic recovery.”
The 2021 capital portion of the budget represents a $70.9 million investment for new infrastructure and to support growth of the city, as well as the rehabilitation and replacement of existing infrastructure. The operating portion dedicates $124,736,000 million towards the daily costs of running city services, excluding water and sewer services.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve taken many measures to cut costs and mitigate financial impacts as we have adjusted to a new normal and focused on protecting our community,” said Budget and Audit Committee Chair Councillor Mike Mann. “This budget takes into consideration the needs of our growing city and delivering essential services, while still keeping in mind that we are in the midst of an evolving health emergency. I believe we are well-positioned moving forward.”
Due to the emergency orders under the Pandemic, the City lost significant revenues with cancelled and revised programs and incurred unexpected costs, related to personal protective equipment and implementing a range of safety measures. To offset these impacts, Council approved a cost containment plan to minimise the financial burden.
At the same time, Council and regional partners advocated to the provincial and federal governments for emergency funding to help municipalities to maintain services levels and reintroduce programs. This funding, in combination with the cost containment efforts, has enabled Council to approve a modest budget for next year.
Most of the initiatives contained in the 2021 Budget are the continuation of key multi-year projects. This includes the design of the recreation complex, construction of the Preston Auditorium and Fountain Street Soccer complex, trail improvements, stormwater infrastructure renewal, the Beverly Street pedestrian underpass design and other road work. These community investments will assist with increasing private sector job creation and local economic recovery.
The City will also continue to focus on emergency and pandemic preparedness, community wellbeing and safety, and supporting local businesses.