PRELIMINARY 2021 BALANCED BUDGET UPDATE ADOPTED BY WINNIPEG CITY COUNCIL

WINNIPEG – At a Special Meeting of Council today, the preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update for the City of Winnipeg was adopted.
 
“I’m pleased to see the 2021 Balanced Budget Update adopted by Council so that millions of dollars in supports can flow toward the City’s response to the pandemic,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “The 2021 Balanced Budget Update provides a balanced, sustainable fiscal blueprint to help guide our city through the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.”
 
“The 2021 Balanced Budget Update builds upon the strong foundation of the multi-year balanced budget by investing in City services that are important to the needs of Winnipeg residents while responding to the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham, Chairperson of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance.
 
The 2021 Balanced Budget Update is balanced and commits almost $15 million toward initiatives that assist in the City of Winnipeg’s response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:
 
Approximately $4 million for the purchase of personal protective equipment for front-line workers and additional supplies for cleaning and sanitizing in City departments.
$7.6 million from the federal Safe Restart Agreement funding to extend the property and business tax deferral program in 2021, the COVID-19 Economic Support Grant, the Winnipeg Wellness Fund and funding for counselling supports for firefighters and paramedics.
$3.3 million from federal Safe Restart Agreement funding to support affordable housing and economic development measures such as hiring additional planning staff and re-establishing the Office of Economic Development within the City of Winnipeg.
 
Almost 1000 more businesses have been eliminated by a threshold increase to the Small Business Tax Credit which will save the affected businesses an average of $1,926.12 annually. As a result, approximately 54 percent of all Winnipeg restaurants and approximately 55 percent of all Winnipeg businesses will now receive a full credit of their business taxes in 2021 and beyond. The business tax rate will remain frozen at 4.84 percent for 2021.
 
The property tax increase is limited to 2.33 percent with the entire increase dedicated to Winnipeg’s infrastructure requirements.
 
Winnipeg Transit receives the largest tax-supported subsidy in the City’s history. This subsidy increases 55 percent from $67.3 million to $104.3 million to address lower ridership levels during the pandemic and the lack of matching funds from the provincial government for the federal restart funding for public transit.
 
The historic 3-year, $50 million Recreation and Library Investment Strategy includes important investments in new and existing facilities across the city. A key focus of this strategy is making recreation investments in high need areas of the city, which was a critical recommendation of the Illicit Drug Task Force Report.
 
The 2021 Balanced Budget Update invests a historic $152.2 million into road renewals which represents approximately 140 lane kilometers of road and back lane renewals, which is approximately the distance from Winnipeg to Falcon Lake.
 
The adopted six-year, $2.3 billion capital investment plan will boost provincial and federal GDP by over $1 billion and will create over 10,000 person years of employment. Incremental tax revenue of $111 million and $139.2 million will be created for the provincial and federal governments, respectively. The six-year plan will include important investments into road renewals, Winnipeg Transit buses, the Combined Sewer Overflow mitigation program, a Water Meter Renewal Program, and the protection and enhancement of our tree canopy.
 
A number of amendments were adopted, including the following items:

  1. Building on the Bloomberg Harvard initiative that will help ensure the right resources are responding at the right time, the deadline included in the 2020-23 multi-year balanced budgets for a new multi-year funding formula for the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) will be accelerated to December 31, 2021. The public service will be directed to:

I. Conduct a jurisdictional scan of other formula-driven models for police services;
II. Seek input from members of Council, the Winnipeg Police Services Board and the Winnipeg Police Service;
III. Commission a statistically representative third-party survey of Winnipeg residents concerning funding of the WPS;
IV. Support the Chair of the Police Board, Chair of Protection, Community Services and Parks, and Chair of Finance through the office of public engagement to hold events designed to collect input from members of the public including Black, Indigenous and people of colour, LGBT2SQ*, community groups and associations.

  1. The Waverley West Fire Station will be funded by external debt in the amount of $7 million in 2023 instead of the Impact Fee Reserve.
  2. $313,000 included for 3 years of debt servicing costs for the North District Police Station.

For final recommendations, please see the minutes of today’s Special Meeting of Council on the City’s Decision Making Information System which will be updated shortly after the meeting at:

http://clkapps.winnipeg.ca/DMIS/permalink.asp?id=A20201216(SM)C-1

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