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Winnipeg forecasting millions of dollars in deficit as part of 2023 budget

The City of Winnipeg is predicting a shortfall for its 2023 budget, forecasting a deficit that is higher than the three months before it.

The forecasted number, a deficit of $7.1 million, is part of the city’s latest financial and forecast report which will be presented to council on Jan. 12.

Prior to this, the deficit at the end of the third quarter last year was $3.1 million.

The latest numbers reflect city spending until the end of November last year. In a press release on Monday, the city noted that a deficit was mainly the result of higher-than-expected costs related to snow clearing, roadway construction, maintenance and street cleaning.

The costs for all such work were $11.9 million more than budgeted, according to the city. Additionally, costs related to higher overtime and workers compensation with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Services cost the city $6.9 million more than it forecasted.

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The release also noted that there were less-than expected permit fees and a decrease in transfers from the Land Operating Reserve in Planning, Property and Development, causing the city to take home less than what it expected by about $3.3 million.

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“It can be difficult to budget for certain factors over the course of the year, such as weather conditions or economic activity. The current forecast shows that City departments have largely maintained good fiscal responsibility while dealing with different challenges over 2023,” stated councillor Jeff Browaty, chair of the standing policy committee on finance and economic development, in the release.

“There are a number of items to be accounted for at year-end that will shift the City’s financial status. However, the City should be in a position to reach balance over 2023 and may draw from the Financial Stabilization Reserve Fund if needed.”

The council is set to hear and vote on the report this Friday. One of the ways to offset the deficit, stated in the report, includes using the financial stabilization reserve fund.

Further stated in the report is the approval of $21.9 million over the budget on Dec. 1, 2023, for public work projects and services.

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Manitoba headed for billion-dollar deficit, according to latest financial report

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