City considers $35M in cuts to staff, parks and services ahead of multi-year budget
WINNIPEG -- The City of Winnipeg’s multi-year budget is under scrutiny at city hall.
On Saturday, the Standing Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks met to take in presentations from the public works department, community services department and Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.
Around $35 million in possible cuts is being considered.
Councillor Sherri Rollins chairs the committee. Councillors Vivian Santos, John Orlikow and Ross Eadie also sit on the committee.
After each presentation councillors are invited to ask departments questions.
‘ FEW EASY TARGETS REDUCTIONS’
In an email to CTV News, Rollins said there are few easy target reductions contemplated in these presentations:
- The Parks and Urban Forestry Service Based budget presentation contemplates a reduction in several park projects, PREP money, and cancellation of athletic fields’ improvement projects. While it increases funding for reforestation it falls far short of what coalition groups are calling for. As an example, a request of $7.6M per year over four years.
- Community Services had a 0.5 per cent target increase to present or approximately $16M to reduce over four years. The majority of their budget presentation involves front line staff reductions presenting over 50+FTE. In addition, they contemplate several closures to pools, arenas, several library closures and programs that community members need, enjoy, not to mention grants that serve young people in Winnipeg.
- Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service presentation contemplates fire hall consolidations and risks associated with coverage issues like Waverley West. They have a target two per cent increase.
“What is being proposed at standing policy committees to meet targets may not move from committee to council," Rollins said.
“Headline grabbers may emerge, staff reductions are among the most difficult to contemplate, however they may not ultimately be kept among list of reductions recommended to council.”
Director of Public Works Jim Berezowsky discussed budgets for parks, insect control, forestry and more.
One issue brought up, still undecided how to handle is the mayor’s request for people to plant one million trees to strengthen Winnipeg’s canopy.
The multi-year budget runs between 2020 and 2023.