June 7, 2018
Released: 10:06 a.m.
Winnipeg, MB – A report being considered by Executive Policy Committee next week, is recommending a new approach to Council's approving of the City's budget that would authorize planned expenditures and anticipated revenues on a four-year cycle. The report recommends adopting the new budgeting practice in time for the 2020 budget year.
“Setting out expenditures and revenues for consecutive budgetary years, as opposed to on a 12-month period, will provide citizens with greater long term certainty concerning City taxes and fees, as well as clarity on service levels,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance. “It is also anticipated approving a multi-year budget would significantly decrease the amount of time and resources expended by public service and elected officials in achieving fiscal balance over a longer period of time.”
Multi-year budgeting is a practice applicable to both operating and capital budgets, as well as tax-supported and utility rate-based operations. It is considered a best practice by the Government Finance Officers Association and has been adopted by other major municipalities in Canada.
Approving a multi-year budget would allow for the City to maintain a balanced tax-supported budget over consecutive years and result in better integration and alignment of long-term development plans. The City currently has a balanced six-year capital program, in which Council adopts the first year, then adopts the five forecast years in principal and revisits the plan each year. The City also has a practice of approving multi-year utility rate funding plans to address utility needs.
The City’s proposal for multi-year budgeting would result in a full budgetary review in the year following a municipal election. If multi-year budgeting were in place for 2020, the four year budget cycle would take effect on January 1, 2020, and continue to December 31, 2023.
The report in its entirety is available through the Decision Making Information System (DMIS).
Released: 1:11 p.m.
Winnipeg, MB – In his fourth address to a sold out crowd attending the 12th annual Winnipeg Arts Council Awards and Luncheon, Mayor Brian Bowman expressed his continued support for the arts and culture industry and outlined the economic benefits of investing in the industry.
“Winnipeg’s a thriving, diverse, modern city that is well on its way to one million people strong,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “A key part of supporting a growing city is continuing with investments in Winnipeg’s vibrant arts and culture industry and underscoring how integral they are to our quality of life.”
Since 2007, the Winnipeg Arts Council has hosted the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts to celebrate Winnipeg's artistic achievements and to recognize individuals and partnerships contributing to Winnipeg’s success.
Mayor Bowman used the opportunity to highlight how important Winnipeg’s thriving arts and culture scene is when attracting talented people to either return or start fresh in Winnipeg.
“It’s important when attracting individuals and businesses to Winnipeg that they can hear the ‘voice’ of Winnipeg and that they can imagine themselves here in our neighbourhoods, in our downtown arts hub, in intimate and unique music venues throughout the city, in concert auditoriums, in small galleries or being part of major cultural events,” said Mayor Bowman.
The Mayor said the arts and culture industry not only contributes significantly to the city’s collective voice and how the world sees Winnipeg, it also provides significant economic benefits estimated to be about one billion dollars annually. The Mayor highlighted that every dollar of municipal investment into arts and culture is estimated to attract another $18 in support to local non-profit arts and cultural organizations from federal and provincial governments, and private sources.
Mayor Bowman said both the public and private sectors have an important role to play in supporting arts and culture, citing the recent groundbreaking of the Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a prime example of governments partnering with the private sector.
“Indigenous arts and culture constitute a large part of our collective heritage as Winnipeggers,” said Mayor Bowman. “Winnipeg is the best place to celebrate Indigenous art and culture for so many reasons including the important role that it plays in creating a better understanding about truth and reconciliation in our city and beyond.”
The Mayor expressed gratitude that as a Council civic funding support to the Winnipeg Arts Council increased by $563,000 since 2014 resulting in significantly greater direct investment into the arts.
“These increases followed many, many years when city grant funding was essentially frozen or increased just marginally,” said Mayor Bowman. “It’s critical moving forward that the city’s support does not become eroded.”
The Mayor thanked Councillor Mike Pagtakhan for leading the work of the Mayor’s Task Force on Heritage, Culture, & the Arts as well as chairing the City of Winnipeg’s new Advisory Committee on Heritage, Culture, & the Arts created this last January and tasked with ensuring the long-term success of Winnipeg’s vibrant arts, heritage, and cultural industries.
“I believe in Winnipeg’s arts community and Councillor Pagtakhan’s leadership has contributed significantly to ensuring its success,” said Mayor Bowman. “In our Winnipeg, a city of inclusion, respect, creativity and innovation, I believe there is a place for artists, musicians, writers, and all those giving Winnipeg a voice who are helping make us a place that speaks loudly and proudly to the rest of the world.”
Released: 1:15 p.m.
Winnipeg, MB – Next week, Executive Policy Committee (EPC) will consider ratification of a negotiated agreement between the City of Winnipeg and the Manitoba Government & General Employees’ Union, The Paramedics of Winnipeg, Local 911 (MGEU).
“I want to thank the negotiating committees for working together on this agreement,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “This agreement represents the sixth negotiated settlement coming forward for approval to Executive Policy Committee and Council which I believe values the important work done by MGEU employees while also being fair and reasonable for taxpayers.”
The Memorandum of Agreement between the City and MGEU is a 48-month term from February 19, 2017 until February 28, 2021, and includes general wage adjustments of 2.0% at the end of June 2018, 2.0% at the end of July 2019, 2.0% at the end of July 2020, and 2.0% at the end of February 2021.
Additional changes include:
- An increase in night shift premiums for hours worked between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. (from $0.65 to $0.90 per hour),
- A reduction in minimum overtime pay when members attend court as a witness (from 4 hours to 3 hours); and,
- An emphasis on on-duty training and a reduction in the minimum pay when members attend training while off-duty (from 6 hours of regular pay to 3 hours at time and a half).
The next steps in the approval process include the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) being considered at the next Executive Policy Committee scheduled for Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The MOA will also need to be approved by Council.
The Administrative Report recommending adoption of the negotiated agreement can be found on the City of Winnipeg’s Decision Making Information System.
Released: 2:20 p.m.
Winnipeg, MB – Winnipeg Transit will be adding five new Transit Inspectors on-street and on buses immediately as part of its ongoing commitment to improving operator and passenger safety.
Transit Inspectors are highly-trained former bus operators who are uniquely positioned to be a resource for both operators and passengers. They are a strong presence on-street and are familiar with all aspects of the transit system. They can assist passengers with transit-related information and are enforcement officers for the Public Transit By-law.
Winnipeg Transit is currently piloting a training program for new operators in partnership with the Main Street Project which aims to reduce the potential for conflict and improve safety on the transit system by increasing mental health and addictions awareness. As a result of positive feedback from operators, Winnipeg Transit is looking at providing the training for all current operators.
The Transit Advisory Committee (TAC) recommended that the Public Service provide a report on the pilot training program, and to conduct a consultant-led study on the long-term plan for transit safety as part of the 2019 budget, subject to Council approval.
In addition, TAC recommended that Winnipeg Transit begin discussions with the Winnipeg Police Service regarding the Bear Clan’s possible involvement in future transit safety initiatives, and to look into the possibility of equipping its inspectors with vests and providing additional training.
“I’m pleased that the Transit Advisory Committee made recommendations to further enhance the Transit security presence, and am supportive of these additional initiatives,” said Councillor Matt Allard, Chairperson of the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works.
In spring 2017, Winnipeg Transit prepared a comprehensive list of current safety management practices, and researched potential concepts that would provide increased security for transit bus operators and customers. The report was adopted by the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works on May 30, 2017.
In the report, Winnipeg Transit recommended implementing the following safety enhancement initiatives, which have all been achieved to date:
- A pilot project to test bus operator safety barriers,
- A Transit Advisory Committee to review industry practices, assess and determine trends, and recommend strategies to improve safety,
- An advertising campaign to encourage customers to report undesirable behavior, and
- Stronger reporting procedures with the Winnipeg Police Service to facilitate proactive safety initiatives within the ‘Winnipeg Police Service Smart Policing Initiative’.
The report recommended that the following safety enhancement concepts be considered in the 2018 budget process, both of which were approved and have been achieved to date:
- Adding one instructor and three dedicated relief operators to provide additional ongoing training for operators to prevent and diffuse conflict, and
- Four new Point Duty Inspectors to assist operators and passengers at set strategic locations.
The report also recommended the expansion of the audio/video surveillance system on buses to deter undesirable behaviour and assist with identification, investigation, and prosecution of perpetrators. Winnipeg Transit has issued a Request for Proposals for the installation of additional cameras on its fleet of buses.
For more information on Winnipeg Transit, please see winnipegtransit.com.