Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Tax hike, unpaid leave in 2014 city budget

  • Print

Homeowners' tax bills will be increasing next year and a lot of city workers will be forced to take some unpaid leave.

As reported by the Free Press and other media, the 2014 city budget will give homeowners a 2.95 per cent property tax increase.

Civic workers learned today that many of them will be required to take 3.5 unpaid days off during next Christmas to help pay for the budget increase.

"This, no doubt, is not going to be popular," Finance chairman Russ Wyatt told reporters before the preliminary budget was tabled at executive policy committee.

The tax increase and the unpaid days off are just two ways the city is financing an extra $45 million to be spent in 2014.

According to city officials, the 2.95 per cent tax increase amounts to about a $45 increase in a homeowner’s municipal property tax bill, for the typical home assessed at $262,780.

The tax-supported operating budget is proposed to be $967.8 million for 2014; up from $922.7 million in 2013.

The preliminary budget will be subject to committee reviews over the next two and a half weeks. Council will vote on the final budget at a special meeting Dec. 17.

Likely mayoral candidates councillors Paula Havixbeck and Scott Fielding dismissed the preliminary budget.

Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) called it an embarrassment.

"We had over $100 million in cost overruns (on city projects) and they’re still proposing a tax increase," Havixbeck said, adding grants to community groups are frozen at 2013 levels and there is no certainty the Sherbrook Pool will be repaired or replaced.

Fielding said he drafted his own budget plan that would freeze property taxes and still spend more on infrastructure – streets and sidewalk improvements – than is being proposed in this preliminary budget.

As Mayor Sam Katz repeatedly said in past weeks, the city is designating one percentage point of the tax increase to the local street reserve, which was established for the 2013 budget.

For 2014, the city will set up a reserve for regional street improvements, designating another percentage point of the increase.

The remaining portion of the tax increase will be used to cover increases for all other departments.

Non-essential city staff will be required to take 3.5 days of unpaid leave between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day in 2014. That’s expected to save the city $1.5 million.

Chief Financial Officer Mike Ruta said the city still has to determine who will be affected by the unpaid leave, but added that no department will be untouched, including city councillors.

Ruta said he could not state how many employees will be forced to take the unpaid leave.

The capital budget is increasing only marginally for 2014: $379 million, compared to $374.7 million in 2013.

Other cost-savings moves proposed for next year include: eliminating 20 senior management positions -- $2 million; reducing each councillor’s ward allowance by $37,000; delaying filling vacancies -- $14.1 million;

Spending highlights include:8.6 per cent more to the Winnipeg Police Service; 2.9 per cent more to Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service; increasing the Transit subsidy by 3.8 per cent, to $47.6 million; $18.2 million to be spend on local street renewals; $14.3 million for regional street improvements; a 11 per cent increase for library materials ($300,000.)

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Trucks power through flooded underpass at Main St and Higgins

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose flys defensively to protect their young Wednesday near Kenaston Blvd and Waverley -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 16 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comment that Tina Fontaine’s slaying was a crime, and not part of a larger sociological problem?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google