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This article was published 9/2/2018 (709 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A mild December helped boost city hall’s financial situation.
The City of Winnipeg is reporting a year-end surplus for 2017 of $15 million — a dramatic turnaround from the $9.5-million deficit at the start of the year.
"I’m pleased that the cost-control measures and the negotiated collective agreements in 2017 contributed to a year-end surplus," finance chairman Coun. Scott Gillingham said Friday in a prepared statement.
The turnaround is attributed to a series of cost-cutting moves throughout the year by almost every civic department, along with key collective agreements in which firefighters, police and the city’s largest union took a wage freeze for 2017.
By November, the city was projecting a year-end surplus of $8.7 million.
City officials attributed the mild December winter, with its minimal snowfall accumulation, for a savings in the snow-clearing program, which bumped the surplus to $15 million. The surplus will be set aside in the financial stabilization reserve account.
Ironically, it was the winter storms of December 2016 that unexpectedly drained the city’s coffers and took what was supposed to be a surplus and turned it into the $9.5-million shortfall. A full report will be presented to Thursday’s finance committee meeting.
Officials said, despite the good financial news, there remains uncertainty going forward: city hall is still looking at a $2.3-million shortfall in its ambulance budget for 2018 because the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is freezing funding at 2016 levels.
The city said the province has been slow in making good on its financial commitments for a slew of capital projects in 2017. While the City of Winnipeg has submitted claims totalling $78.3 million, it said the province has only paid $24.6 million.
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.
Updated on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 8:51 AM CST: Edited