Katz lauds Winnipeg's progress, hints he might run again
Mayor Sam Katz lauds Winnipeg’s businesses, infrastructure growth in speech
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz delivered his state of the city address Friday and indicated he has not ruled out running for a third term in office.
Katz greeted over 1,000 guests at the annual luncheon hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.
He said the city saw a major increase in building permits over the last year, hitting a record value of $1.5 billion. Katz said in response to the growth, the city would be expanding its permit and inspection process by adding seven new employees.
He said city officials would soon be launching an online tool to help business owners in or outside Winnipeg relocate in the city. It will offer business owners demographic information about the area and what businesses are already in the area.
Katz said the city will make a bid to host the Canada Summer Games in 2017.
When asked if he'll run for re-election Katz quipped: "Can you think of a reason why not?" If he does run and win again, it would be Katz's third term as mayor.
Katz said the only reason he wouldn't run again next year is if his family wasn't on board. But he said his priority is to make sure Winnipeg continues to flourish. "The job is to basically grow the city, make sure it's an exciting city, a vibrant city, that young people want to live here ... that's what you're supposed to do."
Critics such as Coun. Paula Havixbeck have not ruled out their own electoral bid for mayor. Havixbeck said she thinks Katz painted an overly rosy picture Friday of the city's economic health. "With that much growth, why did we need to have a tax increase this year?" Havixbeck asked. She said she has received hundreds of messages urging her to run for the mayor's job.
Katz acknowledged the city was in an infrastructure crisis and said a new reserve fund was a step to address the city’s crumbling infrastructure.
He said infrastructure was the biggest challenge facing Winnipeg and that the city had an "infrastructure deficit" that could not be fixed with property tax funds alone.
Katz discussed how the city is balancing economic and social concerns by focusing on community spaces in many areas throughout the city.