The second four-year balanced budget has been released by the City of Winnipeg.
The budget features more services being made available for Winnipeggers, however, there are some price hikes to make these services possible.
Mayor Scott Gillingham is following through on his election promise by holding steady on a 3.5 per cent property tax increase throughout the four-year budget, which goes until 2027. Two per cent of that increase will be used to invest in road repairs.
General fees will increase five per cent in 2024 and 2025 and then 2.5 per cent in 2026 and 2027.
Homeowners will have to pay more for garbage and recycling – from $70 to $80 – and in 2025 a new $46 apartment and condo collection fee would be implemented.
The price to ride the bus for adults will start to increase with an annual $.10 jump, but the rate will freeze for the low income WINNpass in 2024.
Some of the possible changes coming for transit includes an automatic fare collection system upgrade, which would cost around $6.5 million; safety shields for drivers in 2024 and four expanded routes in the city – Castlebury Meadows and Waterford Green, Aurora, Prairie Pointe and Sage Creek.
The Community Safety Team will also launch.
City council would direct transit to have services fully restored by 2025.
The city is looking to implement a new 911 charge for every registered phone in the city. The cost would be $1 a month per phone, creating roughly $7.5 million a year. The money would be used to help modernize the 911 system, which could include text, photo and video submissions to first responders. The city notes this is a similar practice in other cities across the country. The plan would require provincial approval.
The city is also talking with the Winnipeg Police Service and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service to look at consolidating their 911 systems.
Wading pools and splash pads
There will also be changes to the number of pools and splash pads that operate in the city. As part of the budget, the city plans on replacing or decommissioning 20 wading pools, close three pools and invest $20 million to create 10 new splash pads throughout Winnipeg.
The public service would also be asked to report back in the fall of 2027 to provide a multi-year review of the Kinsmen Sherbrook Pool. The city is looking for information on usage, yearly revenue and operating costs for the pool.
Over the four-year budget, the city is looking to grow the urban forestry budget by 45 per cent. This increase will help the city reach its pruning goals quicker and more funding will be focused in 2026 and 2027 to support a faster planting strategy.
A new library is being planned for the northwest section of the city and funding from the budget would also create similar operating hours for the libraries throughout Winnipeg and enhanced library security.
Other budget spending
The city is planning to increase the snow clearing budget over the next four years by around 40 per cent. The reason for the projected increase is to have the proper budget in place from the get-go as the city continuously goes over budget when snow is being cleared.
Riverbank stabilization is also mentioned in the budget with the city hoping to spend $3 million a year on the work.
The Hotel Tax would go up by one percentage point to six per cent. That money will be used to help fund beautification projects and a chunk would be used for capital work at the convention centre.
The city is also projecting another $500,000 into the green cart program. The money would be used for the first step and consulting support on the project in 2024.
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