Cambridge City Council approves 2023 Budget

Posted on Tuesday February 21, 2023

Today, Cambridge City Council approved a 4.74 per cent tax levy increase as part of the Budget and Business Plan for 2023. Of this increase, 1.47 per cent is allocated to support the growth and development of the City’s core areas through the waiving of development charges.

“As a council, we have a duty to look carefully into the staff proposed budget to find efficiencies while maintaining quality programs and services,” said Budget and Audit Committee Chair and Ward 8 Councillor Nicholas Ermeta. “It’s a challenge every year to balance the costs of new services and needs that will benefit our City in the long run, while maintaining existing program levels that our residents rely on every day. In the end, I think we landed on a budget that shows fiscal responsibility while meeting the needs of the community and providing opportunities for growth in the future. I am pleased to see that the tax levy increase is under the inflation rate.”

The City’s portion of the property tax bill is 36 per cent, with the remainder going to the Region of Waterloo and the local school boards. Therefore, an increase of 4.74 per cent to the City’s portion of property taxes results in an impact of 1.72 per cent to the overall tax bill.

For less than $6 per month for the average household with a property assessment value of $333,200, the 2023 operating budget maintains all existing service levels during the current high inflation environment, while also providing key strategic investments, including:

  • The opening of the Fountain Street Soccer Complex and expansion of the Cambridge Sports Park arena complex.
  • Investing in the growth and development of the City’s core areas through financing of waived development charges.
  • Providing the staffing resources to help expedite housing.
  • Investing in placemaking and establishing the core areas as attractive destinations; and,
  • Many other investments towards achieving the City’s strategic actions as outlined in the City’s business plan.

The 2023 Capital budget invests $75 million towards the rehabilitation and renewal of existing assets as well as building new assets to support future growth of the city. These investments are allocated across city programs and services and aligns with strategic actions as outlined in City’s strategic plan – Cambridge Connected. The 2023 Capital budget also includes re-opening the design project for the Riverside dam, with construction planned for 2025.

The 2023 Operating Budget dedicates $150 million toward the cost of delivering city services, excluding water and sewer services.

“Thank you to the staff for all their hard work delivering a well-thought-out 2023 budget”, said City of Cambridge Mayor, Jan Liggett. “This budget takes into consideration much-needed service increases while recognizing higher-than-average inflation. Staff and Council are also cognitive of any Provincial impacts. By passing these capital and operating budgets we are moving forward on important projects like the Preston Auditorium expansion, funding for our downtown patio projects, and enhanced snow clearing programs."

Read the 2023 Budget Highlights to support the City’s Strategic actions, including:  

  • Cambridge Sport Park expansion, Fountain Street soccer facility construction, Preston Auditorium expansion design and construction
  • Older Adult Strategy
  • Community engagement framework
  • Phase two of the North Cambridge business Park
  • Parks Master Plan

Quick Facts:

  • The City of Cambridge has more than 850 employees who deliver and support nearly 40 external-facing services, focusing on the responsible management of financial resources, ensuring transparency and accountability to the community.
  • As part of a 2022 Customer Satisfaction Survey, 77 per cent of residents feel they receive good value for the City’s programs and services. As well, 74 per cent agree with some level of tax increase to maintain or enhance services.
  • Cambridge residents and businesses receive services from two levels of local government: The City of Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo. Read more how we deliver services in our Region.
  • Property taxes are used to support local municipal services provided by the City, as well as regional services provided by the Region of Waterloo and an education portion for local school boards. Only 36 per cent of residential property tax bills are used for City operations.
  • Inflation pressures on City budgets remain high, with the consumer price index measure of inflation averaging 6.8 per cent in 2022 and capital inflation, as measured by the construction building price index, over 14 per cent in 2022.

Read the full 2023 Budget and Business Plan