Regional Council

Region of Waterloo staff have proposed $5.5 million in cuts to public services to help bridge an $8 million shortfall. (CBC )

Homeowners across the Region of Waterloo will likely have to shoulder a 2.8 per cent property tax increase as well as possible cuts to local public service, as the regional government grapples with a $7.5 million shortfall in the 2014 budget. 

Putting pressure on the public purse are big ticket local services, such as garbage pickup, public transit and staffing costs, all of which could could be on the chopping block when councillors look to pare down the shortfall. 

Tom Galloway, chair of the administration and finance committee, said what services could be reduced, and to what extent, will be outlined in a list regional staff are preparing for the Nov. 20 regional council meeting. 

"We'll get a look at that at the November meeting," he said. "Staff will come forward with a list of what they propose, but I'm sure not all of it will be accepted by council and council will have to substitute some other things to help bridge the gap."   

Galloway said he can't rule out public sector layoffs but councillors will try to avoid it, if possible.

"If you did reduce some service there's probably some staff that get reduced as well but we typically do that through attrition if at all possible," he said.