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Guelph’s Unprecedented Huge Tax Hike; Nearly Doubled that of 2023

Guelph residents are facing a significant 8.52% increase in property taxes next year, marking the beginning of a series of substantial tax hikes. This major financial change comes after the city council finalized its inaugural four-year budget.

During a pivotal special budget meeting, Mayor Guthrie refused to use his Strong Mayor Powers to bring about a lower tax increase.

The upcoming year will see a $410 increase in property taxes for the average household in Guelph, valued at $407,000.


Moreover, the budget outlines further property tax increases of 9.97% in 2025, 8.03% in 2026, and 7.33% in 2027. The council plans to review and potentially revise the budget annually.

Concerns about future tax hikes were voiced by several council members, who pledged to work on reducing these figures.

During its five-hour meeting on Wednesday, the council amended the spending plan, initially proposing a 9.9% tax increase for 2024. This figure already factored in various project delays and reductions by staff.

A significant cut on Wednesday resulted from a decision to stagger the hiring of new staff over four years, removing $2.4 million from the 2024 budget, with variable adjustments in following years.


Similarly, the Guelph Public Library’s budget was reduced by $257,111. Coun. Dan Gibson, who proposed these changes, aims to postpone the hiring for the new main library, making the impact on taxpayers “a little more manageable.”

The budget also sees a reduction in affordable housing funding, now at $100,000 for reserve contributions, down from the previous $500,000 annual amount.

Earlier in the meeting, a proposal to increase the affordable housing fund to $1.5 million was rejected 10-3, with only Ward 2 Councillors Goller, Klassen, and ward 2 resident Caton supporting an additional tax hike.


Another factor mitigating the tax increase is the decision to use reserve funds for the $750,000 planned 2024 contribution to Guelph General Hospital, consistent with the approach for the first three years of the city’s six-year $4.5 million commitment.

Additional allocations include:

  • $43,445 for each of the next two years from reserves for physician recruitment
  • $50,000 annually from reserves for at least two value-for-money service reviews
  • $100,000 from reserves for coordinated service agency encampment wellness checks
  • $10,000 from the tax levy to explore a program for waiving penalties and freezing interest on unpaid property taxes
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