KITCHENER -- The Region of Waterloo has released its proposed 2021 budget, and it's focused on recovery during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virtual budget deliberations began on Wednesday and a final budget approval is scheduled for Jan. 20.

In a news release, regional officials said the budget includes providing services like clean water, public health, transit, affordable housing, social services and paramedic services.

It also includes supports for vulnerable populations and ongoing pandemic support for businesses and workforces.

“The Region of Waterloo has navigated diligently and nimbly through the pandemic, but we are still in unprecedented times. If issues are not addressed today, they will be magnified in 2021, 2022 and beyond,” Regional Chair Karen Redman said in a news release.

The proposed budget includes a plan to avoid a tax increase next year, with an option for inflation.

There's a public input meeting on Dec. 16, and an online survey will stay open for resident feedback until Dec. 20.