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Winnipeg could be forced to empty rainy day fund to deal with deficit

The Winnipeg skyline is pictured in September 2022. (CTV News Winnipeg Photo) The Winnipeg skyline is pictured in September 2022. (CTV News Winnipeg Photo)

The City of Winnipeg’s rainy day fund could be running dry.

A financial update to the end of March projects a $27 million deficit for the end of the year.

This includes $12.8 million for police because of a drop in photo radar revenue and cost savings targets that likely won’t be achieved.

There is also $7.4 million for the fire-paramedic service related to overtime and WCB costs.

The report says if council approves, the fiscal stabilization reserve can be used to cover $19.5 million, depleting the fund.

It says the remaining $7.5 million will be made up by an “action plan” coming in June.

The report suggests services could be impacted.

“Until the forecasted deficit can be addressed, the city will be in a more difficult position to approve any over-expenditure requests, potentially causing some disruption to services.” states the report.

As the city dealt with cost pressures from the pandemic, the reserve was used to shore up finances. The fund is supposed to have a minimum balance of $78 million.

The report also predicts a $2.5 million deficit for Winnipeg Transit which will be made up by that department’s retained earnings.

It says ridership this year is 17 per cent below normal levels to the end of March.

“It is common that the city forecasts a deficit through the first quarter of the fiscal calendar,” said Councillor Jeff Browaty, chairperson of the standing policy committee on finance and economic development. “That being said, the current forecast does pose a serious challenge for the city for the remainder of the year. Departments will be required to maintain prudent fiscal management going forward as the city focuses on these early operating shortfalls.” Top Stories

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