Budget 2012: Balancing Priorities of Winnipeggers without New Long-term Growth Revenues

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After an unprecedented 14 year property tax freeze, the longest in recent Canadian history, Executive Policy Committee today unveiled the Preliminary 2012 – 2014 Operating Budget that proposes a property tax increase.

Focuses on responsible solutions to huge fiscal challenges

WINNIPEG - February 28, 2012 - After an unprecedented 14 year property tax freeze, the longest in recent Canadian history, Executive Policy Committee today unveiled the Preliminary 2012 – 2014 Operating Budget that proposes a property tax increase. The increase will be targeted to improving public safety, repairing our streets and investing in our community centres.

With a 3.5% increase, the average property tax bill will increase by about $4 per month based on a home assessed at $235,000 (Winnipeg average). Winnipeg still has among the lowest property taxes in Canada and will continue to have among the lowest operating costs.

"For 14 years we held the line on property taxes to ensure we keep Winnipeg competitive and affordable," said Mayor Sam Katz. "However, without any new revenue sharing formula or a larger share of the $8.8 billion already collected from Winnipeg taxpayers, we are left with few options for how to meet our ever increasing costs."

The operating budget allocates $900 million in investments and includes the following:

  • 50 more police officers
  • 20 more firefighters
  • 67% increase, to repair and resurface streets through the TBO program – for a total 50 kilometers repaired in 2012
  • 55,000 additional hours of transit service
  • doubled funding for Community Centre programming.
  • nearly a million dollars of new money available for community centre renovations
  • nearly an 11 % increase from last year to ensure the transformation of Assiniboine Park
  • additional funding will also go toward
    • snow clearing to include back lanes, pedestrian routes and bike paths
    • reducing the tree pruning cycle from 13 to10 years

This budget continues the commitment to keep our own house in order by delaying filling vacancies, eliminating duplication, and finding better ways to deliver services for a total savings of $15 million.

"Each year we look at every aspect of our budget and try to find better ways of managing our operations and while we have identified $15 million in savings this year, we will continue to review all our operations to ensure we are making the best use of taxpayers' dollars," said Councillor Scott Fielding, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance.

Fielding went on to say: "At the same time that we are finding savings, we are increasing certain areas of the budget to fund our vital services."

  • Police and Fire Paramedic services make up nearly half of the city's budget at 41%
  • Infrastructure (roads, sewer and land drainage) next biggest item at 24.9 %
  • Community services (parks, recreation and libraries are the next priority at 12.5%

The 2012 Preliminary Operating Budget includes an increase for all major services and operations involving public safety infrastructure renewal and community centre investments.

We will continue to seek public participation through the 2012 Preliminary Operating Budget process noted below

  • Standing Policy Committees review budget:
    • Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works – March 5th
    • Property and Development – March 6th
    • Protection and Community Services – March 9th
  • Executive Policy Committee hears delegations – March 13
  • Executive Policy Committee tables final recommendations – March 14
  • City Council conducts final review and adoption – March 20

To participate and appear as a delegation, please contact Jo-Ann Park at 204-986-3732.

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