November 27, 2018
Released: 9:20 a.m.
Winnipeg, MB – A budget working group has been established to begin preparing the 2019 preliminary City of Winnipeg operating and capital budget for tabling as early as February 2019 Mayor Brian Bowman and Councillor Scott Gillingham announced today.
The budget working group includes the chair of each Standing Policy Committee as well as the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Acting Deputy Mayor.
“One of the first orders of business for the new Council will be to prepare and pass a budget,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “I’m pleased to formally begin the process of preparing a preliminary budget that can then be presented to the public for feedback through the city’s standing policy committee structure.”
In addition to relying on the budget working group to assist with preliminary budget preparations, Councillor Scott Gillingham has already initiated one-on-one meetings with each Councillor to undertake meaningful discussions about the priorities of their residents. These meetings will be undertaken throughout December and into the New Year.
“Preparing a budget requires an immense amount of work as well as many difficult choices,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham (St. James), Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance. “This will undoubtedly be a challenging budget year, but I am confident that with the efforts of the budget working group and extensive consultations with other members of Council as well as the public, we can bring forward a budget that will reflect the priorities of Winnipeg residents.”
The Councillor noted that S&P Global recently affirmed Winnipeg’s AA(Stable) credit rating based on the city’s strong and stable economy and strong financial management. Earlier this summer, Moody’s affirmed Winnipeg’s Aa2(Stable) credit rating based on disciplined fiscal planning, a diverse economy, and a strong governance and management structure. For more information, please see:
Mayor Bowman said the budget working group will be tasked with preparing a preliminary budget that is balanced, limits property tax increases to 2.33 percent, and makes strategic investments necessary to build and position Winnipeg as its population grows toward a million people.
Provincial law requires Council to adopt a budget before March 31 of each fiscal year. It also requires the city to prepare a five year capital forecast. Mayor Bowman said the reluctance of the provincial government in last week’s Throne Speech to provide certainty on the continuity of future operating and capital funding to the City of Winnipeg is making it challenging to meet these legislated requirements.
“I’ve always said cities need strong federal and provincial partners to address the infrastructure deficit and build for the future,” said Mayor Bowman. “We’ve been able to partner on some key infrastructure projects over the last few years, including an historic program to rebuild our roads, but it’s hard to budget annually as well as five years into the future without certainty on whether funding partnerships are continuing and at what level.”
The City of Winnipeg, through the Office of Public Engagement, completed extensive public engagement earlier this spring to help identify budget priorities of residents for the coming budget year. This engagement process involved over 1,400 Winnipeggers who provided input on the budget through the city’s webpage, surveys, pop-up events held throughout the city as well as a public workshop held at the Millennium Library. A summary report is available on the City of Winnipeg’s website:
Residents, community groups, associations, and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to participate and provide further input on the 2019 budget once the preliminary operating and capital budget recommendations are tabled publicly. The specific tabling date in February as well as the Standing Policy Committee meeting schedule to consider the preliminary budget will be announced in the New Year.