August 18, 2019

Winnipeg
20° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

City Hall, province funding feud drags on

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/2/2019 (192 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The war of words between city hall and Broadway boiled over again this week, with the Pallister government rejecting accusations it owes Winnipeg close to $75 million and the city insisting it is being cheated by the province.

Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton told a news conference Wednesday, in regards to $40 million in road project funding the City of Winnipeg claims it's owed, the province has "already paid."

(function(root) { var paidAccessCheck = function(){ if($(".paywallteaser").css("display") == "none"){ var data = { "version": "1.4.0", "id": "kDstixhLfecbJTY2x", "heading": "Provincial operating funding to city", "qualifier": "2001-2017", "source": "SOURCE: City of Winnipeg", "tags": [], "chart": { "class": "primary", "hasHours": false, "data": "year,OPERATING FUNDING from province to city\n2001-01-01,93.4\n2002-01-01,93.5\n2003-01-01,96.9\n2004-01-01,93.8\n2005-01-01,99\n2006-01-01,109.1\n2007-01-01,117.1\n2008-01-01,122.5\n2009-01-01,134.7\n2010-01-01,143.4\n2011-01-01,158.7\n2012-01-01,158.8\n2013-01-01,160.9\n2014-01-01,168.5\n2015-01-01,171.6\n2016-01-01,177.1\n2017-01-01,180.9", "options": { "annotations": true, "expanded": false, "footer": true, "head": true, "indexed": false, "interpolation": "linear", "legend": true, "qualifier": true, "share_data": false, "social": false, "stacked": false, "tips": true, "type": "area", "x_axis": true, "y_axis": true }, "x_axis": { "display": true, "scale": "time", "ticks": "auto", "orient": "bottom", "format": "comma", "nice": false }, "y_axis": { "display": true, "scale": "linear", "ticks": "auto", "orient": "right", "format": "round1", "prefix": "$", "suffix": "M", "nice": true }, "annotations": { "highlight": [], "range": [], "text": [ { "text": "2017: $180.9 M", "valign": "top", "text-align": "right", "position": { "x": 0.8711, "y": 0.0211 } } ], "pointer": [ { "curve": -0.5, "position": [ { "x": 0.8888, "y": 0.0321 }, { "x": 0.985, "y": 0.1001 } ] } ] } } }; root.ChartTool = root.ChartTool || []; root.ChartTool.push({id: "ct-" + data.id, data: data}); var b = document.getElementsByTagName("body")[0]; if (!b.classList.contains("ct-charttool-init")) { b.classList.add("ct-charttool-init"); var c = document.createElement("link"); var j = document.createElement("script"); c.href = "https://wfpdata.s3.amazonaws.com/chart-tool/v4/chart-tool.css?token=0"; c.rel = "stylesheet"; j.src = "https://wfpdata.s3.amazonaws.com/chart-tool/v4/chart-tool.js?token=0"; j.async = true; j.defer = true; document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(c); document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(j); } clearInterval(verifyPaidAccess); } } var verifyPaidAccess = setInterval(paidAccessCheck,100); })(this);

Wharton then turned up the heat, accusing city hall of filing invoices for 100 per cent of work that was to be cost-shared on a 50-50 basis.+

Get the full story:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/2/2019 (192 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The war of words between city hall and Broadway boiled over again this week, with the Pallister government rejecting accusations it owes Winnipeg close to $75 million and the city insisting it is being cheated by the province.

Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton told a news conference Wednesday, in regards to $40 million in road project funding the City of Winnipeg claims it's owed, the province has "already paid."

Wharton then turned up the heat, accusing city hall of filing invoices for 100 per cent of work that was to be cost-shared on a 50-50 basis.+

On Friday, the city said the province is reneging on $74.4 million in funding on 2018 infrastructure projects, which might have to be made up through a one-time property tax increase, service cuts or staff layoffs.

Included in the alleged shortfall is $40 million in road spending and $34.4 million allocated to the north end sewage treatment plant project.

Manitoba committed, in writing in May, to provide city hall with $83.6 million in 2018 for capital infrastructure projects. City hall allocated $50 million of that amount to road work. However, Mayor Brian Bowman said last week the province now only wants to allocate $10 million to road work — but the $50 million has already been spent.

Mayor Brian Bowman: 'The province is proposing, or directing, that their allocations be used in a different way now in 2019'

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mayor Brian Bowman: 'The province is proposing, or directing, that their allocations be used in a different way now in 2019'

The $50 million figure stems from a 2014 commitment made by the former NDP government to give Winnipeg a total of $250 million over five years. Wharton insisted all of the $250 million has been paid out; the city said it is still owed $40 million.

Bowman met with reporters later Wednesday, and refused to back down.

The mayor said city hall’s budget process is open and public, adding the 2018 budget was approved in December 2017, and its spending plans for the year posted on the internet, with copies provided to the province.

Bowman said if the Pallister government had concerns over how city hall was spending infrastructure funding, it should have said something before the work was completed and the money spent.

"The province is proposing, or directing, that their allocations be used in a different way now in 2019, and that’s the challenge we’re having," Bowman said. "It’s the retroactive nature of what we’re dealing with that poses the most significant challenge for us."

The mayor said Wharton’s claim of city hall fudging invoices is a smokescreen, adding any concerns on billing should be dealt with between officials. "That’s something that can be dealt with administratively. What we’re dealing with is much more significant."

Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton speaks to reporters on Wednesday.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton speaks to reporters on Wednesday.

Bowman last week also raised concerns province wants to use $34.4 million set aside to help cover the cost of upgrades to the north end sewage treatment plant for its share of the Waverley Street rail underpass and other projects, without giving city hall any assurances the funds would be reimbursed.

Wharton said work on the treatment plant remains in the planning stages, and the $34.4 million has sat in a bank account for years and could remain unspent for several more years.

"The project is not close to happening," the minister said, adding it would be better to spend the money now.

"Unfortunately, our proposal has been distorted into public suggestions that using that money for other projects would somehow create a budget shortfall for the City of Winnipeg of $34.4 million."

Bowman said the Pallister government keeps revising its accounting of funding to the city, repeatedly describing it as "a moving target."

"It is moving by the day, when we look at the correspondence that we’re receiving from the provincial government," he said.

While it appears the two levels are at loggerheads, Bowman said he’s confident a face-to-face meeting with Premier Brian Pallister would resolve the complicated financial situation.

The mayor said he’s requested a personal meeting with the premier, but the province hasn’t yet responded.

Members of city council were given a briefing on the situation Wednesday, and the finance committee is dealing with the situation at its Thursday meeting.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

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.

Read full biography

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography

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

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

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

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.