KITCHENER - The Region of Waterloo is carving out its budget for 2020, but the final impact on taxpayers is still unclear.

As councilors began debating the spending plan on Tuesday, they were still waiting for one missing component to help them land on the final number:  the region’s policing budget.

Before that’s factored in, the tax hike for 2020 would be 2.58 per cent over this year – that’sabout $52 for an average home valued at $344,220.

However, if the Waterloo Regional Police Service gets all of the funding it’s requesting for 2020, it would drive the increase up by another 1.67% to about $85.70 per household

Policing Budget:  The Wild Card

The initial 2020 funding request by Waterloo Regional Police is 7.17 per cent higher than last year, and Council wants them to try to trim that back.

Most acknowledge that will be a tough assignment, since police are dealing with some rare, one-time expenses.

“The reality is the radio system isn’t something we can rely on, right now two officers go out in cruisers and we recognize that’s driving up overtime,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman.

Redman also points to the pay out of the police service’s sick bank as an unexpected expense.

More Increases:  Water & Waste Water Rates

The region’s 2020 budget is also looking at an increase of 1.9 per cent for water rates and 3.9 per cent for waste waterrates.

Both of those increases are 1 per cent lower than anticipated last year.

The Police Service Board will present their finals numbers at a meeting on December 11th.