Gillingham touts 3.5 per cent tax hike
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/10/2022 (246 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Mayoral candidate Scott Gillingham would raise property taxes by 3.5 per cent in each of the next four years and hike frontage fees.
“I was (council’s) chair of finance for five and a half years. Freezing property taxes is not realistic if we’re going to grow the city,” he said.
The added revenue is essential to delivering his campaign pledges, especially after the financial blows of COVID-19 combined with soaring inflation and last winter’s massive snow-clearing costs, which wreaked havoc with the city’s bottom line, Gillingham said.
“Now it’s time to boldly invest to grow the City of Winnipeg. I challenge every other candidate to explain their plan (for) the City of Winnipeg… and how those plans will be paid for,” he said.
A 3.5 per cent annual tax hike would take place between 2023 and 2026 and the local frontage levy would increase by $1.50 per foot in 2023, Gillingham said.
The property tax hike and frontage fee would raise a combined $280 million over the next four years, he said, adding he would dedicate every penny to specific infrastructure, including road renewal, transit, other transportation and neighbourhood recreation projects.
Provincial law requires frontage levy revenues to be spent on road renewal or sewer work, Gillingham said. He plans to devote the new funding to active transportation and key road projects, such as the extension of the Chief Peguis Trail and widening of Kenaston Boulevard.
“I believe it is time to raise revenue so that we can make the investments in building the kind of strong, healthy vibrant city that I envision and I believe all Winnipeggers want,” he said.
Gillingham has also promised to close gaps in the active transportation network, increase funding for the 311 service and ramp up the overall road repair budget.
The candidate expects he can achieve those goals while freezing the business tax. In the long run, Gillingham said he would like to eliminate that levy.
Mayoral contender Rana Bokhari promises to seize more derelict homes to turn them into affordable and rent-geared-to-income housing.
Under Bokhari’s plan, the city would seize homes using its existing legal process, demolish them at the property owner’s cost, and give the land to charities that provide housing. The process would involve hiring more city staff to assess, track and inspect the homes, as well as enforce bylaw violations at the properties, she said.
Bokhari expects the new staff spending would ultimately save the city money because derelict homes are a magnet for arson and vandalism.
“It’s a good thing. It frees up paramedics, it frees up fire (crews), it frees up the police,” she said.
Winnipeggers will elect their next mayor and council on Oct. 26.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.