KITCHENER -- Guelph councillors voted Tuesday night in favour of a 3.91 percent tax increase for 2020, as part of their tax supported operating budget.

This means the average household will see an increase of $12 a month or $154 annually.

"This was a difficult budget year, we've been working at this along with staff and the community over the last several months to land on this number,” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie.

Council also approved spending $750,000 a year for the next six years, to support Guelph General Hospital’s emergency department resources. The 3.91 per cent increase includes a 0.31 per cent levy that will be dedicated towards the hospital for the first time under this current term.

Guelph’s Transit Services budget will also see an increase of $1.7 million to increase service to the Hanlon Creek Business Park, Route 99, community bus expansion, and improving spare bus ratio.

The Affordable Housing Reserve Fund will also get a boost of $170,000, bringing it’s totally to $500,000.

As part of the operating budget, council also approved the 2020 local boards and shared services operating budget, with funding supporting various groups including Guelph Public Library, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, and the Downtown Guelph Business Association. This budget will represent a 1.95 per cent impact to the overall levy.

“I was a little but disappointed at the end where it was a little bit higher than I wanted, but it is a defensible budget and something I still approved because the themes were around health and safety and those issues could not be ignored in our community any longer, said Guthrie.

Council will set the tax policy in April to determine what percentage of the total levy will be paid by each tax class.