Cutting city services like libraries won’t generate revenue: Winnipeg councillor

"We shouldn't be cutting services like libraries," said Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood councillor Kevin Klein. "There are other areas where we can cut.". Global Winnipeg

A Winnipeg city councillor is speaking out against potential cuts in the upcoming draft budget at city hall.

City departments have been told to expect only a 2.3 per cent increase in spending overall. Initial discussions around budget cuts have included closing libraries, including the West Kildonan and Westwood branches.

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

“We shouldn’t be cutting services like libraries,” said Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood councillor Kevin Klein. “There are other areas where we can cut.”

Winnipeg fire Chief John Lane (centre) speaks about possible department cuts at a city council committee meeting on Nov. 9, 2019. Amber McGuckin/Global News

Klein has been discussing the budget process with constituents in his ward who have financial expertise. He thinks the city should take a different approach.

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“How do we build this city up?” he said. “How do we start generating more revenue for the city?”

One solution, according to Klein, is to fast-track stalled Property Planning and Development projects that could make money for the city.

He says there are currently three such projects stuck in the system that would bring in up to $40 million in revenue once completed.

Coun. Ross Eadie says property tax hikes might be the only solution.

“We’re going to have to raise property taxes to keep recreation, to keep prevention kind of stuff, and grants to important community groups working with youth, seniors and adults. It costs money.”

Budget meetings are set to continue through December at city hall. The 2020-23 draft budget is scheduled to be tabled in the new year.


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