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Live coverage: City council budget vote

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Join Free Press reporter Jen Skerritt as she tweets live from the city council vote on the 2013 capital and operating budgets.

The special council meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The budgets include a 3.87 per cent tax property tax increase which is expected to generate an additional $17.8 million and help pay for the rising cost of police and emergency services, which account for 44 per cent -- $406 million -- of Winnipeg's $921-million operating budget.

One per cent of the property tax increase -- $4.5 million -- will go toward a reserve fund dedicated to fixing streets, lanes and sidewalks.

The initial budget draft also called for a 10 per cent reduction to the budget of museums and reducing grants to non-profit groups.

Last week, executive policy committee voted to partially restore funding to museums so their budgets will be reduced by five per cent instead of 10 per cent. EPC did not restore money to other non-profit groups, such as the poverty action strategy or the United Way.

This year's budget also calls for councillors' discretionary ward budgets to rise to $114,000 from about $74,000.

Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) and Justin Swandel (St. Norbert) plan to ask council to consider reducing the increase to ward budgets by $20,000 to offset cuts to museums and other non-profits. The move will save $300,000, which is a way to put more money back into non-profits and the community.

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