Winnipeg 2023 proposed city budget includes higher property taxes, road renewals and transit safety
The city of Winnipeg tabled a preliminary 2023 budget on Wednesday at city hall.
Rising inflation has significantly impacted the budget with inflation fees of $2.5 million.
The budget includes an expected 3.5 per cent property tax increase which aligns with Mayor Scott Gillingham’s campaign pledge.
“The pandemic has had a severe impact on city finances over the past three years,” said Gillingham.
“Now is the time to invest in priorities like transit capacity, road safety, tree planting and pruning and better customer service so that together, we can build a stronger Winnipeg.”
The average homeowner in southwest Winnipeg will pay an extra $101 in property tax while a North Ender will pay around $60 more.
And frontage levies for property owners with street frontage will pay $1.50 extra per foot, raising almost $18 million for road work and active transportation investments.
Even with the increase, Winnipeg’s property tax still remains low compared to other provinces.
The priority investments in 2023 according to the new budget are better customer service, improved transit and transportation service, improved safety and security, economic development and growth and tree canopy investment.
Under better customer service the budget includes a 25 per cent increase to improve service response times and $450,000 to begin development of the Neighbourhood Action Teams Concept.
“This is consistent with and fulfills the campaign commitment I made,” said Gillingham.
“There will be cross-trained people and they can repair a curb, fill a pothole, trim a tree.”
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The budget also claims to restore transit service to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic levels over the course of the new year. This includes increasing the investment in road renewals by $18.9 million. Gillingham said more information will be available in the coming weeks.
Concerns around transit safety are also being addressed with a $5.0 million investment to launch a transit safety team initiative.
Business taxes remain the same at 4.84 per cent and the small business tax credit program will provide a full rebate to businesses with an annual rental value of $47,500.
And $3.6 million will be allocated to protect and renew Winnipeg’s tree canopy, which is more than the $4.7 million allocated last year.
Christian Cassidy of Trees Winnipeg believes most of the money will go toward the City’s forestry department.
“They have a lot of work to do — they’ve really fallen behind on replacing trees — they replace about nineteen per cent of the trees that they cut down.”
Additionally, the budget will Restore Winnipeg arts council to pre-pandemic levels.
The budget also addresses the homeless crisis with a $1.0 million investment in 24/7 safe spaces for vulnerable Winnipeggers and continued funding toward the Downtown Safety Partnership.
Key Projects in the six-year budget
- Regional and Local Street Renewal – $977.4 million
- CentrePort South water and Sewer Servicing – $40.0 million
- Urban Forest Renewal – $56.7 million
- Transition to Zero-Emission Buses – $267.8 million
- North Garage Replacement – $155.9 million
- Combined Sewer Overflow and Basement Flood Management Strategy – $240.0 million
Other notable projects in the 2023-2028 budget include Waverly West Fire Station, a plan for trade route corridors and NEWPCC Nutrient Removal.
The six-year capital plan of $3.1 billion is about $200 million more than in the 2022 budget.
This is a preliminary budget that’ll be reviewed at standing policy committee meetings starting in early March. A final council debate will take place March 22.
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