WINNIPEG – After a lengthy Executive Policy Committee (EPC) meeting yesterday where many delegations let their voices be heard, a number of amendments to the preliminary 2020-23 multi-year balanced budgets were proposed and approved by EPC for Council’s consideration.

"I want to thank the citizens of Winnipeg who have participated in the budget process and taken the time to make their priorities known,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham (St. James), Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance. “The amendments proposed reflect the priorities voiced in public feedback and by Council colleagues since the preliminary 2020-23 multi-year balanced budgets were tabled."

Two of the most notable amendments are the renewal of the U-Pass program at a 50% discount effective this year and the request for a report from the public service on a new 3 year recreation and library investment fund starting in 2021 to utilize the anticipated annual strategic infrastructure allocation from the Province of Manitoba; subject to passage of the 2020 Provincial Budget and approval of this initiative by the Province of Manitoba.

“We’ve heard students loud and clear, and we’ve found a way to save the U-Pass at a slightly reduced discount,” said Mayor Bowman. “I’m looking forward to the passage of the Provincial Budget as we await confirmation of our numerous discussions for an annual strategic infrastructure allocation from Province of Manitoba that could be utilized for recreation and library facilities.”

Amendments approved by EPC and proposed in an amending motion to the preliminary 2020-23 multi-year balanced budget recommendations for Council’s consideration include:

  • $1.1 miilion over 4 years to enable 6 libraries that are currently open to remain open on Sundays from September to May;
  • $1.3 million over 3 years to partially restore the 50% reduction in Leisure Guide programming starting in 2021 to make a 14% reduction;
  • $1.6 million over 4 years to support the City’s Business Continuity program with new Business Continuity Officers to increase preparedness and business continuity;
  • $500,000 over 4 years for Public Art Strategy capital program;
  • Directing the Public Service to explore options involving third party organizations to own and/or operate the Terry Sawchuk Arena; and
  • $3.713 million for the West Kildonan Library redevelopment project;

The preliminary 2020-23 multi-year balanced budgets and budget recommendations are scheduled to be considered by Council at a special meeting on Friday March 20, 2020.