Message from the Mayor and Chair of Finance:
This multi‐year budget plan is based on citizens’ priorities, including the feedback expressed and received through the budget consultation process last year which engaged 2,500 participants, and solicited a lot of input and feedback through the website and social media platforms.
Difficult choices have been necessary again in this budget. However, we believe this preliminary budget provides a disciplined and responsible approach that supports a growing, thriving city.
We also believe through an open and collaborative budget process, the decisions we make can be more transparent and responsive than ever before.
Without a doubt, demands and expectations on the city budget remain high: improved roads, bridges, and sidewalks; safe, secure communities; improved transit services; and improved community centres and facilities.
However, revenue sources for the budget remain limited and antiquated, and the gap between revenues and expenditures continues to grow.
Notwithstanding these challenges, the 2016 preliminary operating and capital budgets are balanced. They maintain and invest in key services Winnipeggers have told us they need, while also investing in key infrastructure necessary to support a growing, modern city.
Winnipeggers have told us they want continued investment in road renewal and this budget delivers. The budget proposes to increase the 2016 regional and local street renewal program to $105.2 million. This level exceeds the record investment of $103.3 million last year. This budget also continues the plan to increase funding for regional and local street renewal through a dedicated revenue stream funded by a 1 per cent property tax increase for each. Together with the significant investment in the Waverley Street Underpass project budget of $155.1 million, total streets capital investment increased to $302.4 million in 2016 compared to $128.7 million in 2015. Recognizing the importance of infrastructure investment for a growing city, this budget proposes that the Street Renewal Frontage Levy not be limited to funding maintenance costs in the operating budget. As such, the preliminary budget proposes that the frontage levy also be budgeted as dedicated funding for infrastructure renewal in the City’s capital budget.
To reduce the tax burden on small business so that these dollars can instead be invested in jobs to power the economy, the City’s business tax rate is proposed to decrease from 5.6 to 5.3 per cent in 2016. This budget enhances the small business tax credit program as well, proposing a full rebate of business taxes for businesses with an annual rental value of $32,220 or less. This will benefit nearly half of all Winnipeg businesses.
The focus on departmental efficiencies continues in this budget to ensure capital investment levels are sustainable for our modern city. Financial challenges will not be met without new and innovative approaches to improve efficiency, responsiveness and accountability in the delivery of services. This budget includes $1 million annually for an Innovation Capital Fund under the leadership of the Standing Policy Committee on Innovation. The successful launch of this program in 2015 included funding for a capital financial reporting system dashboard and a city wide automatic vehicle location system.
Progressive public transportation options are vital to a thriving community, and this budget provides a sustainable, multi‐year funding plan to ensure sufficient dollars are budgeted for the City’s payments for the Southwest Rapid Transitway. Beginning in 2016, a property tax increase of .33% each year for 10 years is being set aside to ensure we have the financial capacity to fund this project to completion.
Transit’s budget includes increased investment in capital and increases in transit maintenance staff to keep up with fleet expansion, technological changes, emissions control work, and increasing needs to maintain and repair buses.
In addition, this budget proposes $2.5 million in 2016 for the provision of planning and design for future rapid transit corridors and associated works. The budget proposes capital investment for transit buses of $32.5 million in 2016 compared to the investment of $16.8 million in 2015. Additionally, the implementation of a Transit UPass, effective in the fall of 2016, will support the City’s university students.
The proposed budget continues to ensure transit use remains affordable for riders. The tax supported subsidy for Transit increases to $69.9 million in 2016, compared to a subsidy of $47.3 million in 2015, an increase of almost 48 per cent.
These budgets increase investments in key frontline services many Winnipeggers have told us they need. Proposed increases include the Winnipeg Police Service ($280.7 million), the Fire Paramedic Service ($190.1 million), the Public Works Department ($215.5 million) and the Community Services Department ($111.4 million). Proposed in 2016 is the continuation of the strong partnership with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority in delivering the highly effective Community Paramedicine Program through enhanced training and resources for the Main Street Project as well the Emergency Paramedics in the Community (EPIC) program. Subject to funding confirmation from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the preliminary budget proposes service improvements to the Community Paramedicine Program, including an expanded EPIC program.
The Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Utility operations form a significant part of this budget. These budgets include environmental and legislative requirements as well as updated rate projections.
New and ongoing investments proposed in the 2016 operating budget include programs and expenditures that help build safer and stronger neighbourhoods and community amenities including:
- $150,000 for the Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT program)
- 2nd year of 5 year annual commitment of $150,000 to the United Way’s Plan to End Homelessness
- Increase in Winnipeg Arts Council funding to $7 per capita
- $1 million annual contribution towards a $5 million commitment to support the Winnipeg Art Gallery ‐ Inuit Art Centre
- $50,000 annually for 5 years for a New Research Chair in Municipal Infrastructure in conjunction with the University of Manitoba
- Aboriginal Youth Strategy funding of $1.75 million
- Transportation Management Centre
- Operating and capital support to the Assiniboine Park Conservancy (a $10.512 million operating grant and $6.092 million in capital grants)
- Conducting Civil Marriage Ceremonies at City Hall
Over the past many months we have come together to be a “City Hall that Works”, and this budget continues these efforts through:
- Increased communications staff, including new positions for the Office of Public Engagement
- A new full ‐ time French language services coordinator
- $250,000 to study and review smart growth funding options, including a regulatory growth fee
- Funding for a new Office of Integrity (Ethics) Commissioner
The City continues to be challenged by aging infrastructure and an infrastructure deficit estimated to be over $7 billion. The capital budget begins to address this by including one‐time financing sources, specifically capital project surpluses and surplus amounts from the Land Operating Reserve, to augment the capital program. This allows debt to be used more strategically to finance large, intergenerational projects. The capital budget invests in infrastructure priorities of $2.9 billion over the next 6-years, including:
- Street and bridge projects ‐ $965.7 million
- Public safety (Police and Fire Paramedic) investment ‐ $110.8 million
- Community Services including libraries and recreation facilities ‐ $104.8 million
- Transit ‐ $218 million
- Active transportation facilities ‐ $31.9 million
- Waterworks System ‐ $190.2 million
- Sewage Disposal System ‐ $1 billion, including the North End Sewage Treatment Plant ‐ Nutrient Removal/Upgrade project. Negotiations with the other levels of government must continue in order to successfully complete this capital program.
Individual strategic capital investments include:
- $6 million in 2016 toward the City’s $10 million Freedom Road commitment to add to the $4 million previously approved
- An increase of $75,000 for the City‐wide Accessibility program to $425,000 each year
- Record level funding for local sidewalk renewal, an increase of $1.6 million in 2016 for a total of $2.4 million
- Doubling the Reforestation Improvements program in 2016, 2017 and 2018 by $383,000 to $766,000
- $100,000 for an off‐leash dog park masterplan in 2016
- An increase of $500,000 for the Parks and Recreation Enhancement Program to $3.3 million each year
- $750,000 in 2016 toward a total commitment of $3 million for the 2017 Canada Summer Games
Municipalities are the level of government closest to the community and we must continue to prioritize how infrastructure dollars are spent within our jurisdiction and collaborate with other levels of government.
We are pleased federal and provincial governments support our priority capital projects like the Waverley Street Underpass the Southwest Rapid Transitway. The Government of Canada’s recent commitment to prioritize municipal infrastructure spending and to make funding more flexible to the requirements of municipalities are steps in the right direction, which we welcome.
Provincially, 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 infrastructure dollars are spent in our communities.
We do believe our collective path to success requires a new way for municipalities to pay for what we have now, and what we need in the future, and believe Council must continue to pursue new sources of revenue to support much needed City services and investments.
Councillor Marty Morantz,
Chairperson, Standing Policy Committee on Finance
Budget 2016 Presentations:
- 2016 Preliminary Budget Highlights
- 2016 Water and Waste Preliminary Capital Budget Presentation
- 2016 Water and Waste Preliminary Operating Budget Presentation
- 2016 Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Preliminary Operating and Capital Budget Presentation
- 2016 Community Services Preliminary Budget Presentation
- 2016 Parks Preliminary Capital Budget Presentation
- 2016 Parks Preliminary Operating Budget Presentation
- 2016 Planning, Property & Development Preliminary Budget Presentation
- 2016 Public Works Preliminary Capital Budget Presentation
- 2016 Public Works Preliminary Operating Budget Presentation
- 2016 Transit Preliminary Operating and Capital Budget Presentation
Citizens are invited to participate in the 2016 Budget process. Please call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to register as a delegation for the following meetings, which are scheduled as part of the 2016 Budget approval process:
Friday, March 4, 2016, 9:30 a.m.
Standing Policy Committee on Water and Waste, Riverbank Management and the Environment (Special Meeting)
Monday, March 7, 2016, 9:00 a.m.
Standing Policy Committee on Protection and Community Services and Parks (regular meeting)
Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 9:00 a.m.
Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development (regular meeting)
Friday March 11, 2016, 9:30 a.m.
Winnipeg Police Board Meeting (rescheduled from March 4th)
Monday, March 14, 2016, 9:00 a.m.
Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works (rescheduled from March 1st, 2016)
Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 9:00 a.m.
Special Executive Policy Committee to hear delegations on Budgets
Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 9:00 a.m.
Executive Policy Committee to consider Standing Policy Committee recommendations and table final recommendations (regular meeting)
Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 9:30 a.m.
Special Meeting of Council to pass Budgets
To register as a delegation for Budget participation please contact 311.