December 8, 2017
Released: 9:01 a.m.
Winnipeg, MB – After listening to public feedback and presentations from over 40 delegations, several amendments are being proposed by Executive Policy Committee to the initial recommendations contained within the 2018 Preliminary Operating and Capital budget Mayor Brian Bowman announced today.
“This has been a very challenging budget,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Over the last fifteen days, we have received a significant amount of feedback on the 2018 preliminary budget and have done a lot of listening. We heard many different spending requests, and many opinions on what should and should not be a funding priority next year. The amendments being proposed are not only a reflection of what we heard, but also a reflection of what is feasible within the confines of a balanced budget.”
“There has been a lot of work to try and address ward-specific needs as well as keep the budget balanced,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance. “Even with these proposed amendments, the 2018 preliminary budget remains balanced with no draw on the Financial Stabilization Reserve.”
Mayor Bowman said a significant part of the challenges in preparing the 2018 budget were driven by unilateral provincial decisions to eliminate long-standing funding agreements for transit and ambulance services, but also that Winnipeg is a growing city with a growing need for new infrastructure as well as a need to repair and maintain existing infrastructure that has deteriorated after years of neglect following previous property tax freezes and reductions.
Amendments proposed to the 2018 Preliminary Operating and Capital budget recommendations include:
- Examining the possibility of introducing reduced transit fares for low-income passengers as part of the operational review of transit;
- Limiting vacancy management to within the scope of the operating budget to ensure the general level of services identified in the operating budget is not adversely affected;
- Increasing parking meter rates by an additional $0.50 per hour for all on-street parking meters and directing $1 million of the incremental revenue accrued by the Winnipeg Parking Authority from this increase be used to offset previously proposed service level reductions on select transit routes;
- Allocation of up to $100,000 to address arson related damage in the Diplomat and Chochinov Parks;
- Allocation of up to $100,000 to address arson related damage to the Kilcona Park Harbourview Play Structure;
- Allocation of up to $100,000 to address general playground and amenity safety concerns as they may arise city-wide;
- Creating a new capital project called the “New Recreation Facility – South Winnipeg”, and authorizing $1.75 million from the $3.5 million identified in the 2019 capital forecast be reallocated to the New Recreation Facility – South Winnipeg;
- Eliminating the proposed new library in south Winnipeg and reallocating $10 million in forecasted capital project authorizations for the library project to the New Recreation Facility – South Winnipeg;
- Creating a new capital project called the “Grant Park Recreational Campus” and authorizing a reallocation $1.75 million identified in the 2019 capital forecast to this new capital project; and
- Clarifying that $50 million of the provincial capital funding allocation to the City of Winnipeg be used to fund road projects, $40 million of which will go to regional and local street renewal.
“Many of my residents rely on transit daily,” said Councillor Cindy Gilroy, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Innovation. “I strongly support the amendments that mean there will no longer be service level reductions resulting from the unilateral decision by the province to end the transit funding agreement, and I look forward to seeing how the city might be able to introduce reduced fares for low-income passengers as part of the overall operational review of transit.”
The 2018 Preliminary Operating and Capital budget and budget recommendations are scheduled to be considered by Council at a special meeting on Tuesday December 12, 2017.