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Havixbeck says hiring freeze necessary after city's financial outlook downgraded

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Mayoral candidate Paula Havixbeck will impose a hiring freeze at city hall following the civic election.

Havixbeck said the move will be necessary to offset any costs resulting from the downgrading of the city's financial outlook by Moody's Investor Services earlier this week.

Havixbeck said the province should be responsible for covering any cost increases but said that's not likely to happen.

"Those costs... will have very serious implications for the City of Winnipeg," Havixbeck said while standing out front of the Legislative Building this morning. "It's essential that we show leadership and do everything we can to try to not have another tax increase due to this mismanagement at (the provincial) level."

Moody's, the influential credit rating agency, downgraded the city's financial outlook from stable to negative this week, but not because of the city's financial management. Moody's had downgraded had the province's outlook because of its burgeoning debt and the agency was concerned Winnipeg would be affected as a result.

City officials said they don't know the immediate financial impact of the downgrade but suggested it will result in increased borrowing costs for its extensive series of capital infrastructure projects.

Havixbeck, the first-term councillor from Charleswood-Tuxedo, said if elected her first task will be to ask the province to cover any resulting cost increases but added she anticipates they will not agree, making the hiring freeze necessary.

"I'm all about keeping our own house in order and I believe we need to do a lot of work yet at the City of Winnipeg but I have proven... as a city councillor that money can be saved."

It's been a busy week for Havixbeck. This was her fourth policy announcement in as many days. She began the week with a call to freeze all civic real estate deals until the completion of an RCMP review and followed it up with plans to overhaul the 311 system and support for a poverty-reduction project, before this morning's announcement.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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