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‘Basically, we’ve run out of money’: University of Winnipeg prof on city budget drama

City Hall.
City Hall. File / Global News

With some City of Winnipeg departments raising the alarm about potential cuts when the budget is finalized, city councillors have some tough calls to make.

A political science prof at the University of Winnipeg, however, says he’s surprised the city has taken as long as it has to consider these kinds of measures, and that this current situation is the inevitable result.

U of Winnipeg prof Aaron Moore
U of Winnipeg prof Aaron Moore University of Winnipeg

“Basically, we’ve run out of money,” Aaron Moore told 680 CJOB.

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“This city, for a long time, has been doing its best to keep things going with diminishing resources to do so, and shifting around money and stuff like that isn’t sufficient to do so.”

Moore said even if cuts happen, they may not be as severe as the police department and transit are warning, but the city should’ve had these discussions years ago, before it was forced into a tough financial spot.

“I don’t know if the extent of the cuts are going to be what we’re hearing from the police department or Winnipeg Transit, but there are going to be cuts,” Aaron Moore told 680 CJOB.

“I do think it’s important that the mayor and council get out there and explain to the public that it’s going to be happening and why that’s going to be happening.”

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Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth told a Winnipeg Police Board budget meeting that constraints could mean cutting 34 officers and 25 cadets over next four years, and Transit has proposed major service and route cuts.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Transit proposing major service, route cuts after city caps budget

Moore said the obvious alternative to cuts is property tax increases, which have been held steady at 2.33 per cent hikes for the past few years.

“The two alternatives we have is we start seeing property tax increases that have been significantly more than we have been used to in Winnipeg or we see services decline,” said Moore.

“The extent of that decline, I don’t know what that would be, but those are the two options.”

Winnipeg police chief funding cuts
Winnipeg police chief funding cuts