2019 budget


The budget is the City of Kitchener’s annual financial plan, and is the primary basis of financial decision making. The budget process allows council to prioritize the programs and services delivered by the city and sets direction for the work to be completed over the upcoming year as well as future years referenced in the budget forecast.

2019 proposed rate changes

The 2019 proposed rate changes and impact to the average homeowner are calculated on a medium-sized single detached home valued at $309,000. The proposed rate changes are as follows:

  • Property tax increase is 2.3 per cent or $25 annually.
  • Water utility increase is 6.5 per cent or $78 annually.
  • Gas is reduced 0.93 per cent or $7 annually.

The total impact annually on the average household is $96. The proposed tax rate increase of 2.3 per cent is below Ontario’s cumulative rate of inflation for 2018. Kitchener has the seventh-lowest tax burden of Ontario’s large municipalities and is consistent with the other cities in Waterloo Region.

Key dates & budget reports

Below are the key dates and detailed reports presented to council as part of the 2019 budget process.

  • Dec. 10:  Approved user fee schedule - staff report
  • Jan. 7: Operating budget presentation to council - staff report
  • Jan. 14: Capital budget presentation to council - staff report
  • Jan. 21: Public input session - public input received - issue paper, follow-up issue papers (budget  issue numbers will be added before final budget day)
  • Jan. 31: Final budget day

For current meeting times and agendas, visit the online council calendar. A high-level summary of the 2019 budget's priorities and investments can be found here.


Engage Kitchener survey

One of the city’s most important responsibilities is the careful stewardship of public funds. Although the 2019 budget is carefully balanced between prudent investment and affordability for taxpayers, public feedback is critical in developing a budget that truly reflects the priorities of residents.

We want to know what you think about the proposed budget. Our short, five-minute survey will give staff the opportunity to consider your feedback, and all responses will be summarized and presented to council as part of the public input session on Monday, Jan. 21. Click here to complete the survey. 


Strategic investments

The 2019 budget has identified four priority areas for strategic investment. For more information about these investments, the proposed operating and capital budgets describe these priority areas of investment in greater detail. Highlights include:

Road safety & cycling

- Installation of protected bike lanes (Belmont, Water, Queens) & Dutch roundabout

- Improvements to Iron Horse trail (Lighting and Trestle Bridge Replacement)

- Clearing snow in bike lanes

- Increase in resident-led traffic calming

Environmental sustainability

- Sustainability program to meet our GHG commitments

- Energy retrofit reserve to fund projects that have positive payback

- Smarter fleet investments (increase in use of Biodiesel)

- Urban Forest Strategy (Clearing the tree planting backlog and inspection program)

Improving customer service

- Improving the online customer service experience

- Alignment of resources to support a growing community

Maintaining & investing in infrastructure

- Rehabilitating City Hall outdoor spaces (Carl Zehr Square)

- Maintaining water, sewer, and gas utility infrastructure

- Moving ahead with Huron Brigadoon (Tartan Ave) Community Centre


Water Infrastructure Project

In 2018, Kitchener implemented a sustainable funding model for the city’s water, sanitary and stormwater infrastructure to ensure the safe delivery of these valued utilities. A multi-year initiative, 2018 investments approved through the Water Infrastructure Project (WIP) have already improved several key measures of water quality and proactive maintenance has reduced the risk of flooding in high-risk areas. The water utilities increase of 6.5 per cent is largely related to these investments, and is consistent with the forecast for 2019.


Breakdown of proposed utility rate increase



Regional Rate Increase




Total Rate Increase

























In 2018, investments recommended by the WIP were already having an impact:

-          48% decrease in complaints related to discoloured water

-          Storm main repairs increased by 27 per cent

-          300 metric tonnes of sediment removed from catch basins

-          2,200 properties protected against backflow and cross-connection contamination

In 2019, WIP initiatives will include funding for:

·         Stormwater maintenance

·         Catchbasin/manhole repairs

·         Preventative flushing of sanitary mains

·         CCTV camera inspection of sewer laterals

·         Watermain cleaning

·         Water valve maintenance and replacement

·         Hydrant maintenance


 Other financial resources


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