Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/12/2017 (850 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and his executive policy committee will meet today to consider any adjustments to the city’s 2018 budget before presenting it to council for a vote next week.
But a small group of councillors is planning a series of amendments of its own.
"People across the city are livid with the budget plans," Coun. Russ Wyatt said. "In light of the Portage and Main debate, I think the mayor is out of touch with what Winnipeggers want to see, which is to keep more buses on the road and to fix our streets."
While Bowman appears to have enough votes (a minimum of nine is a majority on the 16-member council) to approve the budget on Dec. 12, Wyatt said it’s important that attempts be made to listen to Winnipeggers.
There are no budget amendments going to the EPC as a result of the reviews carried out by the council committees,
Attempts to make changes were defeated in a tie vote at two meetings.
Wyatt said he’s working with other councillors — including Couns. Jeff Browaty, Ross Eadie, Shawn Dobson and Jason Schreyer — on a series of amendments that will restore funding to Winnipeg Transit (eliminating the need for proposed route reductions and the additional 20-cent fare increase) by taking the money away from support services and the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s proposed Inuit Art Centre, and killing grants to the Louis Riel School Division.
Wyatt and the others are proposing to redirect $3.5 million from the Portage Avenue and Main Street improvements to local street renewals and dipping into the mayor’s budget to restore cuts to a graffiti removal program.
Wyatt also wants to provide additional funding for a variety of city-wide park projects and for Kilcona Park.
Wyatt acknowledged changing the budget with a series of last-minute moves may be an uphill battle.
"It’s clear the mayor doesn’t understand what Winnipeggers want," Wyatt said. "It’s important that some councillors do the right thing."
At today’s meeting, EPC councillors will also consider an administrative report to set aside $388,000 annually to hire a firm on a contract basis to review how the city handles land sales and purchases.
The proposal for an independent fairness commissioner was one of the recommendations from the audit into real estate management deals, sparked by the controversial land swap for the new Taylor Avenue fire station.
The report said the city had originally wanted to hire an individual to work out of the city auditor’s office, but because of the expected workload and the salary offered, they were unable to attract a suitable candidate.
Instead, the city is now proposing to contract a firm specializing in that work at a rate of $400 an hour, on a one-year contract with four, one-year extensions.
The committee will also consider long-term funding arrangements for the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, the creation of a Winnipeg food council, and the United Way’s End Homelessness initiative.