Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City hall blames snow for deficit

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The snow mountain at the Snow Disposal Site on Kenaston Blvd. is growing quickly as almost a constant stream of trucks arrive to deliver loads of snow from city streets and parking lots.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The snow mountain at the Snow Disposal Site on Kenaston Blvd. is growing quickly as almost a constant stream of trucks arrive to deliver loads of snow from city streets and parking lots. Photo Store

City hall ended 2013 with a $1.8- million deficit.

That means officials will have to dip into the fiscal stabilization reserve to cover the shortfall.

Civic officials blamed most of the deficit on snow-clearing costs, which were almost 50 per cent more than budgeted for 2013: $46 million versus $31 million.

"That demonstrates how tight the budget year was," said Coun. Russ Wyatt, chairman of the finance committee.

Public works has budgeted an additional $1 million for snow clearing in 2014 -- $32 million -- and Wyatt said he's hopeful that will be enough.

"The last two winters we had more snow (than was expected) but if you go back to the third winter, there wasn't that much," Wyatt (Transcona) said.

"Winnipeggers want snow removal but there is a cost to provide it."

Wyatt said he doesn't expect to see any major increases in the snow-clearing budget unless there is a significant change in the city's snow-clearing policy -- such as clearing windrows from back lanes.

That proposal is under review by public works.

"Winnipeg is the largest, coldest, snowiest city in the world but we rise to the challenge. It's been a tough winter -- one which has definitely tested equipment, staff and resources but we're not giving up.

"It's been a long, cold, tough winter... on everyone. Whether you're shovelling your walk, driveway or a windrow in your back lane, it's been a long, tough winter -- no doubt about it."

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 19, 2014 B2

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