Financial reports

Learn more about the city's financial position, and download audited annual statements and spending reports.


On this page

  1. Financial dashboard
  2. Annual financial statements
  3. Capital reports

Financial dashboard

Each year we publish a 'dashboard' to show how the city is doing financially. It simplifies city finances into four categories with various measures for each. Below we have shown one measure per category. 

A detailed report with all current measures (PDF) is also available for download.

Overall financial position

The overall financial position of the city is positive with a positive trend for the future.

Long-term projections indicate there will be insufficient funding to replace important infrastructure, but innovative programs like the stormwater management utility fee and credit program provide the city with dedicated funding.

Our asset management plan provides recommendations for long-term funding for the capital budget.

Measurement

This is measured using 'operating surplus/deficit.' It shows:

  • how much tax-based revenue is left over after normal annual operating expenses are deducted
  • if the city is setting aside enough money for longer-term expenses
Target

The target should be above zero, in a surplus. If the measure is below zero, the city is not setting aside enough money to fund annual amortization expenses

Results

Operating Surplus/DeficitOperating Surplus/DeficitWater, Wastewater201120122013201420152016201720182019-20M-10M010M
YearOperating Surplus/DeficitWater, Wastewater
2011 1,289,149 5,300,323
2012 -10,146,261 6,476,372
2013 -3,992,527 1,833,967
2014 -9,498,553 6,491,964
2015 -10,638,412 2,011,245
2016 -10,368,403 4,082,317
2017 -5,202,915 1,850,771
2018 -3,904,716 516,255
2019 32,136 2,667,999
Water, Wastewater

On the tax base side, we've had an operating deficit in seven out of the last nine years. This indicates the city is currently not able to cover the cost of annual amortization of its assets from its own funds. This is contributing to the infrastructure deficit.

This is a common issue as cities have not traditionally budgeted for asset amortization out of operating budgets, but have used capital reserve contributions instead.

On the water/wastewater side, there has been an operating surplus in each of the last 10 years with a deterioration in recent years. These extra funds address capital replacement needs based on current replacement value.

Economic growth

With limited land for brand new developments, Waterloo relies on 'intensification' for continued economic growth. This means new buildings are usually constructed in areas that are already built up.

Measurement

These developments are measured using 'assessment growth' - the addition of tax revenue from new properties for a city and an indicator of a healthy local economy.

Target

There is no specific target, but the city is monitoring this trend over time to ensure the continued economic health of the community.

Results

Assessment Growth (%)Assessment Growth5 Year Rolling Average2008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820190%1%2%3%4%
YearAssessment Growth5 Year Rolling Average
2008 1.88 2.56
2009 0.91 2.23
2010 2.49 1.83
2011 2.12 1.71
2012 1.79 1.84
2013 2.92 2.05
2014 1.86 2.24
2015 1.75 2.09
2016 1.93 2.05
2017 3.89 2.47
2018 1.5 2.19
2019 2.78 2.37
5 Year Rolling Average

Assessment growth has slowed from single detached homes in subdivisions and is now reliant on in-filling projects.

There was a large increase in 2017 from large multi-residential buildings and proactive management of assessment, with growth in 2019 coming in above the 5 year rolling average.

Reserve levels

Reserve funds stabilize tax rates, fund one-time expenses and provide flexibility to protect our financial position. Cities need to save enough to build or replace assets as required and spread out the cost over many years to prevent sudden tax increases. 

Measurement

This measure shows the amount contributed to reserve funds in a given year compared to the ongoing costs of asset amortization, such as a city-owned vehicle losing its value over time.

Target

At a minimum we should contribute enough reserve funds to match annual amortization costs. 

Ideally we should be saving slightly more because amortization is based on historic costs and assets need to be replaced at current cost.

Results

Capital Reserve Contributions as a % of AmortizationWater, WastewaterTax basedTarget20092010201120122013201420152016201720180%2%4%
YearWater, WastewaterTax basedTarget
2009 2.81 0.66 1
2010 2.69 0.69 1
2011 2.6 0.72 1
2012 3.23 0.82 1
2013 1.67 0.85 1
2014 2.57 0.9 1
2015 2.66 0.97 1
2016 3 0.98 1
2017 3.15 1.13 1
2018 2.46 1.01 1
2019 1.52 1.35 1
Target

On the water and wastewater side, the city has been able to achieve this goal.

On the tax rate side, the city's contributions to capital reserves fell significantly short of the annual amortization amount, with the ratio improving over time. The cumulative shortfall over the years impacts the city’s infrastructure deficit. 

Debt

Our debt is currently falling a bit short of the target level and Waterloo has much higher levels of debt than similar cities in Ontario.

The overall trend for tax-funded debt is improving, since the city has shown discipline in minimizing additional debt issues. As a result, the approved ten-year capital budget includes limited new debt.

Measurement

This measure shows total tax-funded debt per resident, which is useful in determining a city’s fiscal sustainability.

Target 

The trend should be decreasing over time as existing debt is paid off and the population grows. New debt issued should be less than existing debt that is paid off and should not exceed the rate of population growth. The city should not exceed its provincial comparator group in the long term. 

Results

Debt per CapitaDebt per Capita - Ta…Debt per Capita - Ta…Provincial Average >…20092010201120122013201420152016201720182019$0$200$400$600$800
YearDebt per Capita - Tax SupportedDebt per Capita - Tax Supported including StudentsProvincial Average >50K Population (Note: 2017 data used for 2018 as information not available for 2018 to date)
2009 698.7 561.8 251
2010 781.03 626.09 257
2011 702.18 555.33 281
2012 617.6 485.79 287
2013 620.76 477.74 288
2014 688.2 526.62 295
2015 654.26 494.04 311
2016 605.13 460.92 297
2017 578.89 465.59 291
2018 543.83 436.14 291
2019 530.87 412 308
530.87

This ratio has been improving since 2009. Due to existing debt, however, the city exceeds the provincial average for municipalities with over 50,000 people. This indicates that the city needs to stay the course in minimizing new debt issues.


Annual statements

These statements tell the story of our financial position at the end of each calendar year. An independent accounting firm audits them and we publish the previous year's statement in May.

To help understand financial statements, use this common language guide.

Past financial statements are available by request. Contact 519-747-8774 or finance@waterloo.ca.


Capital reports

We report on capital spending to tell the story of how building projects benefit the community over the course of a calendar year.

If you require a capital report in an alternate format, contact 519-747-8774, 1-866-786-3941 (TTY) or finance@waterloo.ca.