Property Tax Increase, Roads Funding Slashed in Winnipeg’s 2019 Budget

Property Tax Increase, Roads Funding Slashed in Winnipeg’s 2019 Budget

Brian Bowman
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman speaks to media after the reading of the throne speech at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg on November 20, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — Property taxes are going up, but that increase won’t necessarily mean more funding for the city’s roads.

Mayor Brian Bowman announced the grim news Friday in the City of Winnipeg’s 2019 budget, highlighting a property tax increase of 2.33 percent — accounting for roughly $40 more annually for the average homeowner.

“Preparing this year’s budget was complicated by ongoing uncertainty regarding provincial government funding support to the city,” said Bowman.

“I fully support the provincial government’s efforts to eliminate its budget deficit, but I don’t believe this should be achieved on the backs of Winnipeg property taxpayers.”

The city’s roads budget is being cut to $86.4 million this year as opposed to an original projection of $128.4 million.

Bowman says the decrease is due to an ongoing funding dispute with the provincial government over $40 million owed to the city for infrastructure in 2018.

“This is the city’s new reality,” added Bowman.

The drop in such funding also means a reduction in investments in the pedestrian and cycling program in 2019.

“Unfortunately, this will mean fewer road, cycling, and pedestrian projects will be undertaken this year compared to last year. And it also means fewer projects will be undertaken in future years.”

Budget highlights

  • No new fees are proposed in the 2019 budget.
  • No increase is proposed to water and sewer rates, nor to the frontage levy rate or parking rates.
  • Winnipeg police receiving a 3.4 percent budget increase to $301.4 million.
  • Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service receiving a 4.3 percent budget increase to $201.5 million.
  • Winnipeg Transit to roll out a low-income bus pass by April 1, 2020.
  • Winnipeg Transit receiving $3.15 million to install driver safety shields over the next year.
  • $1 million to study further electrifying Winnipeg Transit’s bus fleet and the eventual purchase of 12 to 20 battery-electric buses.
  • $432,000 in additional funding to the city’s active transportation network.
  • Community centre renovation program receiving an increase of $965,000 to $2 million.

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