How the budget works

Learn about our different budget cycles, how our budget is guided and knowing the difference between an operating and capital budget.

On this page

  1. Learn the different types of budget cycles
  2. How our budget priorities are guided
  3. Know the difference between our operating and capital budgets

Learn the different types of budget cycles

Through a carefully planned budget we deliver valuable services to residents. In Waterloo there are two different budget cycles during a four-year term of city council:

  • in year one, a single-year budget is approved - February 13, 2023
  • in years two to four, a three-year budget is approved - covering 2024 to 2026

How our budget priorities are guided

Budget priorities are guided by our strategic plan and direct engagement with the community. City departments then write business plans that reflect these priorities and inform the final budget that is presented to city council.

Our budget is also guided by the Core Consumer Price Index Policy which states that CPIX acts as a guideline for tax increases.

Staff make a recommendation on our tax increase to council based on our strategic plan, public  engagement and current CPIX related policy, which is subject to council's approval.

Know the difference between our capital and operating budgets

City council considers the budget as proposed by staff and approves the capital and operating budget after public consultation and business plans are presented. 

A capital budget covers new investments or replace assets such as roads, city facilities, or buying new vehicles that are under the city's control.

Operating covers the day-to-day activities such as fuels, insurance, utilities, supplies and salaries. The operating budget also considers the Core Consumer Price Index Policy, as mentioned above.

To learn more about Waterloo's budget cycle watch our video below

Explaining budgets from City of Waterloo on Vimeo.