The City of Winnipeg’s operating budget allocates funding for the full range of City services, such as police, fire paramedic, water treatment, tree pruning, insect control, garbage collection, road construction and maintenance, libraries, and community centres.
Winnipeg residents, businesses, community groups and associations were invited to a consultation session held on January 31, 2012 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. The sessions were hosted by Councillor Scott Fielding, Chair of City Council’s Standing Policy Committee on Finance, and supported by Michael Ruta, the City’s Chief Financial Officer.
The input from the public consultations assisted us in finalizing the operating budget, which will determine the scope and level of all City services. The City received about 151 online surveys and 14 hard copy surveys from individuals (partially or fully completed). Notes were also taken at the Pre-Budget Consultation Session on January 31, 2012 and there were a number of areas that were identified by respondents as important. View the 2012 Operating Budget Survey with Responses and the 2012 Operating Budget Consultation Session Notes for more information.
- Out of 77 individuals who responded to the survey question “Thinking about the challenges of developing a budget, what should be the City’s focus for 2012?”, 25% noted they wanted to maintain service levels, 60% indicated they would want to improve certain service levels, 10% indicated they wanted the City to manage within existing resources and, 5% noted they wanted “other” solutions.
- There were 68 responses to the question “Should the City’s spending in the areas of Infrastructure, Renewal and Public Works; Property and Development; Protection and Community Services or Other, be increased, decreased or stay the same.”,.
- For spending in Infrastructure, Renewal and Public Works, 82% indicated they would like an increase; 18% noted that spending should stay the same.
- For Protection and Community Services, 58% indicated they wanted to see an increase in spending, 31% wanted spending to remain the same and 11% noted that they preferred a decrease in spending.
- With regard to spending for Property and Development, 43% indicated they wanted spending to remain the same, 34% would like to see spending increased and 23% said they would like a decrease in spending.
General Comments from the survey were as follows:
- Infrastructure and services dealing with Road Repair were identified as priorities, as many people indicated they would like to see an increase in spending in this area.
- Comments about taxes and City revenues and expenditures were common. A theme emerged that suggested that an increase in taxes would be welcome if services were maintained or improved. The City is exploring different ways to ensure that services are provided to citizens in the most effective and efficient manner. After 14 years of tax freezes, this year’s budget was prepared on the basis of a 3.5% increase in property taxes.
- Suggestions about recreation and youth in the community as well as police services were common. Comments about libraries and the education of our youth also emerged.
- Transit and transportation were mentioned in the surveys we received, including having better transportation systems and implementing the rapid transit system.
- Many individuals commented on the business tax, city beautification, and general economic development, including marketing our city better.
- There were numerous suggestions regarding city planning, housing and neighbourhood revitalization.
Thank you for being a part of this 2012 budget process. The greater the public participation, the closer we get to meeting the needs and priorities of all Winnipeg residents.