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Budget 2016: Builds Winnipeg for the Future

March 2, 2016

Winnipeg, MB – The City of Winnipeg’s preliminary operating and capital budget tabled today is balanced, makes record investments in infrastructure, and maintains and invests in key services Winnipeggers have said they need while proposing a modest property tax increase that is entirely dedicated to building and repairing local and regional streets and sidewalks, and investing in the future Southwest Rapid Transitway.

"The budget tabled today is balanced, and builds our city for the future,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.  "It reflects a disciplined and responsible approach that supports a growing, thriving city, while maintaining and investing in key services Winnipeggers have told us through the budget consultation process that they need.”

"Winnipeggers want continued investment in infrastructure, and the proposed budget reflects this priority.  The proposed property tax increase this year is entirely dedicated to infrastructure.”

The 2016 preliminary budget proposes a 2.33 per cent property tax increase, of which 2 per cent will be entirely dedicated to the local and regional street renewal capital programs, and 0.33 per cent is dedicated to payments for the future Southwest Rapid Transitway following through on the multi-year funding plan announced in last year’s budget. This increase means the total capital investment into local and regional streets increases to a record level of $105.2 million this year, almost $2 million more than last year and $21 million more than 2014 representing a 25 per cent increase over the last two years.

"The construction of the Southwest Rapid Transitway is a key, strategic infrastructure investment required to support a more modern public transit network that is essential for a modern, growing city,” said Mayor Bowman.

The 2.33 per cent property tax increase represents about $38 more on an average home assessed at $288,190 in 2016.

"Winnipeg homeowners will continue to have the lowest residential municipal property taxes when compared to other large cities across Canada”, said Finance Chair, Councillor Marty Morantz. "However, revenue sources for the budget remain limited and antiquated. This is why we continue to work with other municipalities to underscore the importance of the provincial government providing municipalities a fair share and a fair say in how provincial infrastructure dollars are invested in our communities.”

The 2016 preliminary budget fulfills the City’s $10 million commitment toward the construction of Freedom Road, an all-weather road for Shoal Lake First Nation #40, by contributing a further $6 million toward the design and construction of the required bridges.

A key change in this year’s preliminary budget is the dedicated use in the capital budget of revenue accrued through frontage levies. The 2016 preliminary budget proposes to increase the frontage levy rate by $1.10 from $4.35 to $5.45 per frontage foot.  The annual impact of this change on a 50-foot lot is $55.  This year, $10 million of frontage levy revenue is being dedicated directly to fund the bridge renewal program in the capital budget. By proceeding with this approach, frontage levy revenue is invested in capital projects where they have direct impact and general cash to capital can be replaced in the operating budget.

"This is an upfront, open and transparent use of the frontage levy and is consistent with how the Winnipeg Charter mandates that it be used,” said Councillor Morantz.

The 2016 preliminary budget continues to identify administrative efficiencies and tax supported savings that are invested into the renewal of regional streets.  This year, the budget identifies $11 million in administrative efficiencies and tax supported savings that are invested directly into the regional streets renewal program.  The preliminary budget also maintains the water and sewer dividend this year at the level set in 2015.

While the 2016 preliminary budget is balanced, it forecasts a $51.7 million deficit in 2017 and an $81.9 million deficit in 2018.

"We continue to chip away at a structural deficit that we inherited following many years of property tax freezes,” said Councillor Morantz. "While the 2016 preliminary budget forecasts a challenging fiscal position in future years, we managed to reduce the deficit projected in 2017 by over 50 per cent from $115.2 million to $51.7 million. Moving forward, we need to continue examining responsible and reasonable ways to address the structural deficit while we continue to work with other municipalities to obtain a fair share and a fair say in how provincial infrastructure dollars are invested in our communities.”

For more information on the 2016 Budget, please visit http://www.winnipeg.ca/2016Budget

 

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Media inquiries should be directed to the City of Winnipeg Media Inquiry Line at 204-986-6000 or via email at MediaInquiry@winnipeg.ca

 

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2016 PRELIMINARY BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

 

Infrastructure Investment & Fuelling Economic Growth

  • A balanced 2016 preliminary budget with record investments in infrastructure

 

  • Business tax rate is reduced from 5.6 to 5.3 per cent representing a 7 per cent reduction since 2014

 

  • An enhanced small business tax credit program to provide approximately 5,900 or nearly half of all Winnipeg businesses with a full tax rebate when they have an annual rental value of $32,220 or less in 2016

 

  • A record investment of $105.2 million in local and regional street renewal, representing a 24.5 per cent increase since 2014

 

  • A record level of investment in local sidewalk renewal of $2.4 million, representing an increase of $1.6 million

 

  • Dedicated funding to the future construction of the Southwest Rapid Transitway, following through on the multi-year funding plan announced in last year’s budget

 

  • Funding of $750,000 toward a $3 million commitment to support the 2017 Canada Summer Games

 

  • A $50,000 annual commitment for five years for a new Municipal Infrastructure Chair at the University of Manitoba

 

Supporting Public Safety, Stronger Neighbourhoods & Community Amenities


  • A $280.7 million commitment to the Winnipeg Police Service, representing a $16.7 million increase or 6.32 per cent

 

  • A $190.1 million commitment to the Fire Paramedic Service budget, representing a $11.8 million increase or 6.63 per cent

 

  • Combined, the Winnipeg Police Service and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service represent 44.6 per cent of the total tax supported budget

 

  • Enhanced Community Paramedicine Program, including an expanded Emergency Paramedics in the Community (EPIC) program subject to funding confirmation from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

 

  • A $150,000 commitment to the Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT) operated by the Downtown BIZ

 

  • Second year of a five year annual commitment of $150,000 to the United Way’s Plan to End Homelessness

 

  • Increased funding to the Winnipeg Arts Council bringing the funding level to $7 per capita

 

  • $1 million of a $5 million commitment to support the Winnipeg Art Gallery – Inuit Art Centre

 

  • A $1.75 million commitment to the Aboriginal Youth Strategy

 

  • A $75,000 increase to the city-wide Accessibility Program bringing total funding to $425,000 a year

 

  • Doubling the budget from $383,000 to $766,000 over the next three years for the Reforestation Improvement Program to support tree replacement and pruning along city boulevards, plazas and parks

 

  • Conducting civil marriage ceremonies at City Hall for a fee of $500

 

Investing in Transit & Transportation

  • A $200.4 million commitment to transit, representing a $25.6 million increase or 14.6 per cent

 

  • Increased investment in transit capital and in transit maintenance staff to keep up with fleet expansion, technological changes, emissions control work, and bus repairs

 

  • Transit UPass program scheduled to launch in the fall of 2016 to support the city’s university students

 

  • Operational support for the Transportation Management Centre scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2016

 

Encouraging Innovation

 

  • The $1 million Innovation Capital Fund embedded annually to facilitate investment in new and innovative ideas to improve efficiency, service delivery and responsiveness in city operations

 

  • $11 million identified in administrative efficiencies and tax supported savings that are invested directly into the regional streets program

 

Supporting a City Hall that Works

 

  • Funding to support the creation of the new Office of Integrity Commissioner

 

  • Funding to study and review smart growth funding options including growth fees

 

  • Increased communication support including new positions in the Office of Public Engagement

 

 

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