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New 911 Fee, Property Tax Increase in City’s Preliminary Budget

February 7, 2024 5:53 PM | News


Scott Gillingham

Scott Gillingham gives a victory speech after being declared the next mayor of Winnipeg, on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Daniel Crump)

The City of Winnipeg has unveiled its second four-year balanced budget, offering expanded services for residents but also introducing price hikes to fund them.

Mayor Scott Gillingham has fulfilled his election pledge by maintaining a 3.5% property tax increase over the budget period until 2027, with two percent earmarked for road repairs.

General fees will rise by five percent in 2024 and 2025, and by 2.5 percent in 2026 and 2027.

Coun. Jeff Browaty, chair of the finance committee, explained that the general fee increases aim to keep pace with inflation over the next four years. However, the city has capped the increase at five percent. Homeowners will see an increase in garbage and recycling fees from $70 to $80, while a new $46 collection fee for apartments and condos will be introduced in 2025.

The city is proposing a new 911 charge for every registered phone in Winnipeg, amounting to $1 per month per phone. This initiative is expected to generate around $7.5 million annually. The funds would be utilized to modernize the 911 system, potentially enabling text, photo, and video submissions to first responders. Similar practices are already in place in other cities nationwide. However, this plan would require provincial approval.

“We’re committed to adapting and expanding our services to meet the evolving needs of our community as new information is presented to Council on the details of projects, project costs and financing options,” said Gillingham. “This is a budget that prioritizes the well-being of our residents, and invests in the services that make Winnipeg one of the best places to live in Canada.”

Other budget highlights include:

  • Protecting the urban forest: A 45% increase in the Urban Forestry budget over four years to enhance tree pruning and planting efforts.
  • Library services: A new library in Northwest Winnipeg, expansion of library hours in selected areas and long-term library security enhancements.
  • Better customer service: The implementation of three Neighbourhood Action Teams by 2026 to tackle local maintenance issues, and a second consecutive $1.25 million increase to the 311 service budget to improve response times.
  • Support for arts and downtown revitalization: Funding for a new CentreVenture mandate and a Downtown Arts Capital fund to support capital improvements at Winnipeg’s arts institutions.
  • Infrastructure improvements: Nearly $1 billion over six years for road renewal and enhancements to active transportation options.

Public hearings on the budget will be held beginning March 1, while council will meet to vote on the budget on March 20.