Guelph Mayor Guthrie to Utilize Strong Mayor Powers to Cap Tax Hike and Expand Housing Initiatives

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Photo by Scott Graham / Unsplash

Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie has announced his intention to use strong mayor powers to cap the city's tax increase at under 4 per cent and establish a temporary tiny home structured encampment. In addition, he plans to create strategic real estate partnerships on city-owned assets, particularly parking lots, to convert them into additional housing units. This decision follows Guelph city council's approval of a 10.32 per cent tax increase for 2024 late last year, and Guthrie is among around 50 mayors in the province granted these enhanced powers to propose and amend bylaws related to provincial priorities like housing development.

The implementation of strong mayor powers allows Guthrie to make decisions independently in these areas, with the ability to propose and amend related bylaws, subject to a two-thirds majority vote by the council if they wish to override his decisions. This move reflects a broader trend across Ontario, with approximately 50 mayors being granted similar powers by the provincial government. Guthrie's efforts aim to address housing challenges in Guelph by reducing the proposed tax hike and exploring innovative solutions like temporary tiny home encampments on top of strategic real estate partnerships to repurpose existing city assets for housing purposes.