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This article was published 30/9/2014 (1875 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
David Sanders says an honest mayoral candidate would tell voters the truth about the city's woeful financial situation, not mislead them with promises they can't deliver.
Sanders said the candidates voters elect to form the next city council will face $100 million shortfall in the 2015 budget that will not be dreamed away with promises of tax freezes, fanciful thinking of a municipal sales tax, or vague notions linking growth to taxes.
"What is a responsible mayoral candidate to say?" Sanders asked during a Tuesday morning news conference from his Pembina Highway headquarters. "It's irresponsible to pick a number out of thin air...We have to pay attention to what we do know."
Sanders said a survey of 11 major Canadian cities found the property tax bill for the average assessed home was the lowest in Winnipeg but the city's business tax rate is double the residential rate.
Sanders said to balance the budget in 2015, Winnipeg will likely face a property tax increase of five per cent, increase in user fees, dipping into reserves, and continued borrowing. He said business tax and frontage levies could remain the same.
It's unrealistic to think the provincial government will bail out a new mayor, he said, when it has shown no desire to do so for any of the previous mayors.
Sanders said the new mayor will have to work with the new council and the administration and conduct extensive community consultations to arrive at a reasonable budget and a program of services Winnipeggers want.
"I'm saying what I think the voters need to hear," Sanders said. "What they need is the truth...That's what leadership is all about."
Sanders said his experience as a lawyer and former senior provincial civil servant has given him the experience which other candidates lack.
"I can read a financial statement, I know the questions to ask, and I can tell whether the answers are credible."
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.