Overview of Draft 2021 Budget

full bike rack

Rogers Cove path in winter

Peterborough, ON – City Council will consider giving final approval to the City of Peterborough’s Draft 2021 Budget, which outlines investments in infrastructure and the provision of municipal services, at its meeting on Monday, December 14, 2020.

The Draft 2021 Budget reflects a 2.99% all-inclusive (municipal, education and sewer surcharge) property tax increase for the median residential property not on water, which would be an increase of $123.74 – or $10.31 a month.

Information on the budget, including the draft budget books and a Budget in Brief overview document, are available at peterborough.ca/budget.

The Council meeting on December 14, 2020 will be livestreamed online at peterborough.ca/watchcouncil. To attend the meeting in person or to register to speak as a delegation, either in-person on by phone at Council, individuals must register by no later than 11 a.m. on December 14, 2020 by completing the online application at peterborough.ca/delegations or by calling 705-742-7777 ext. 1820.  Registered delegates will be contact the afternoon prior to meeting with additional information and instructions.

The City faces significant budget pressures for 2021 as a result of the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including reductions in revenues, increased costs, and reduced capital funding.

At the start of the budget process, the full estimated financial impacts of the budget pressures for 2021 would have resulted in an all-inclusive increase of 5.14% for the taxpayer if the City wasn’t able to offset those impacts.

As part of the efforts to respond to budget pressures, Council asked for a list of City services categorized as mandatory or non-mandatory services to assist with the review of budget priorities and considered fee increases as well as other measures to reduce the impact on taxpayers.

The budget reflects the community’s priorities as considered by Council as well as the City’s legislated requirements. Council considers the desires and needs for services and infrastructure alongside the responsibility of maintaining the City’s long-term financial health.

The Draft 2021 Budget operating spending totals $292.7 million (includes revenue from the Province, Government of Canada, fees, and other sources) with the following components:

  • 29% or $85.1 million for Social Services, including social housing, rent supplements, and social assistance
  • 13% or $38.1 million for external agencies such as Police Services, Peterborough Paramedics, Fairhaven, and Public Health
  • 10% or $30.7 million for capital financing for major infrastructure and capital costs
  • 10% or $30.4 million for Environmental Services, which includes services such as garbage, recycling, and waste water treatment
  • 8% or $22.7 million for transportation services, which includes $17.5 million for public transit and $5.2 million for traffic management, parking, and transportation planning
  • 7% or $19.6 million for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Arenas, Recreation and Community Grants
  • 7% or $19.1 million for Engineering, Construction, Public Works, and Infrastructure Management
  • 6% or $18.6 million for Fire Services and Emergency Management
  • 3% or $9.5 million for Financial Services and City general contingency
  • 3% or $8.6 million for Planning, Building Services, and Peterborough Airport
  • 2% or $4.5 million for general administration such as Human Resources, Legal Services, and the City Clerk’s Office
  • 1% or $3.6 million for information technology services
  • 1% or $2.2 million for City Council, the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and Communication Services

When the City asked residents to rank the importance of issues in the community ahead of the drafting of the 2021 Budget earlier this year, a survey generated 519 responses with the following results:

  1. Housing/accommodations
  2. Social issues
  3. Cost of living
  4. Environment/climate change/sustainability
  5. Health/public health
  6. Economy/jobs/economic issues
  7. Infrastructure/transportation
  8. Crime/criminal activity
  9. Provision of recreation facilities
  10. Property taxes
  11. Governance/transparency
  12. Arts, culture and heritage

Through its budget deliberations from November 23-25, Council reviewed proposed spending and revenues, making changes to the draft budget such as increasing capital funding for infrastructure needs and reducing corporate training and travel expenses.

Council added $111,300 to the Capital Budget that would be used to finance an additional $1 million of roads surface pavement work, plus a $279,000 increase in funding that would be used to finance an additional $2.5 million in capital projects. Reports will be presented to Council early in 2021 to outline recommendations on priorities for utilizing the new capital funding.

Other changes to the Draft 2021 Budget included adding in a new projects inspector position in the Building Division and an engineering technologist/inspector position to increase capacity for development applications and projects.

“The past year has been challenging, and there are many uncertainties as we look ahead. COVID-19 will continue to have a profound impact on our community. However, we are also positioned to make bold decisions about what kind of City we want to be moving forward. The 2021 Budget looks towards recovery and a more resilient Peterborough. Housing and transportation continue to be two of our community’s top priorities,” Mayor Diane Therrien said. “Supporting our local businesses and residents is a key priority in keeping Peterborough unique and tenacious. Thank you to all the residents involved in the City’s Budget process, for sharing your ideas and ensuring that our City budget reflects the needs of our community.”

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic the City will be keeping in mind the needs of citizens of Peterborough. The budget process, especially in these difficult days, needs to balance those wants and needs of the City with the ability to pay,” said Councillor Dean Pappas, Council’s Finance Chair.

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For additional information, members of the media are invited to contact the undersigned:

Brendan Wedley, Manager of Communication Services

City of Peterborough

705-742-7777 ext. 1636