City forecasts brighter outlook for operating budget

The City of Winnipeg is forecasting a brighter outlook for its 2019 operating budget.

Its second quarter financial report projects a year-end deficit of $7.7 million, said a city release on Tuesday.

That’s an improvement of just over $2 million from first quarter report, which cited a $9.8 million projected deficit as of March 31, 2019.

The city credited the improved numbers to its efforts to control expenses.

“While there is still a projected deficit as of the second quarter financial forecast, the City remains on the right track to balance throughout the course of this fiscal year,” said Coun. Scott Gillingham, chair of the standing policy committee on finance.

“Trends in recent years show that a projected deficit of this size can be greatly reduced or eliminated with responsible fiscal management through the remaining quarters,” he said in the release.

The city said the remaining deficit was the result of above average snow fall in February, which forced it to spend $11.4 million more than budgeted for snow removal and ice control.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg Transit is forecasting a surplus of $3.4 million as a result of fuel expense savings and the union’s ban on voluntary overtime.

The financial update will be presented at the meeting of the standing policy committee on finance on Sept. 9.