December 17, 2018

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Woodstock vows to freeze property tax, erase impact fee

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Don Woodstock says he’ll freeze property taxes for the next four years, if elected, and eliminate the impact fee.

Woodstock said in an announcement on Friday he’ll also lobby the province to remove the school division and education levy portion from the tax bill city hall is required to send out. (A similar promise has been made by dozens of council members over the years, but no one has yet been able to get a provincial government onside.)

The city began collecting the impact fee — a charge on new residential development in the suburbs — May 1, 2017. The revenue is supposed to offset the cost of infrastructure as a result of the new suburbs, but city council put the money into a reserve account, pending the outcome of a court challenge from the local home building industry.

Woodstock, a former Winnipeg Transit bus driver who now owns and operates a commercial and residential alarm business, said he’ll also freeze the business tax rate for 2019 and 2020, and launch a review of the business tax in the final two years of the term (2021-22).

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Winnipeg mayoral candidate Don Woodstock says he’ll freeze property taxes for the next four years, if elected, and eliminate the impact fee.

Woodstock said in an announcement on Friday he’ll also lobby the province to remove the school division and education levy portion from the tax bill city hall is required to send out. (A similar promise has been made by dozens of council members over the years, but no one has yet been able to get a provincial government onside.)

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files</p><p>Don Woodstock said he will freeze the business tax rate for 2019 and 2020.</p>

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files

Don Woodstock said he will freeze the business tax rate for 2019 and 2020.

The city began collecting the impact fee — a charge on new residential development in the suburbs — May 1, 2017. The revenue is supposed to offset the cost of infrastructure as a result of the new suburbs, but city council put the money into a reserve account, pending the outcome of a court challenge from the local home building industry.

Woodstock, a former Winnipeg Transit bus driver who now owns and operates a commercial and residential alarm business, said he’ll also freeze the business tax rate for 2019 and 2020, and launch a review of the business tax in the final two years of the term (2021-22).

"We are going to look seriously at how this is calculated, managed and at what other cities are doing," he said.

Woodstock doesn’t appear to be a factor in the 2018 mayoral election race. A Free Press/CTV Winnipeg Probe poll released last week found Woodstock had the support of about two per cent of decided voters, slightly less than veteran street cop Tim Diack but more popular than four other challengers: Umar Hayat, Doug Wilson, Venkat Machiraju and Ed Ackerman.

Woodstock also announced on Friday that real estate agent Brad Gross has endorsed him for mayor. Gross is a council candidate for the Old Kildonan ward, going up against incumbent Devi Sharma and Kaur Sidhu, a pharmacist.

Gross previously had run in 2014 in the St. Boniface ward race, and ran for mayor in 2010, finishing a distant third in both elections.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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History

Updated on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 8:00 AM CDT: Final

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