Katz not on board with deputy mayor’s spending cut ideas
Winnipeg mayor says deputy mayor’s comments are without merit
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz is not impressed with comments made by his deputy mayor over the weekend.
Deputy Mayor Russ Wyatt proposed massive spending cuts to address what he called the city’s "massive infrastructure crisis."
He proposed closing the Arlington Bridge, putting the brakes on the city’s Rapid Transit expansion, cancelling grants for art and museum programs and pulling out of deals with True North Sports and Entertainment as well as the Canada Summer Games.
"I would challenge those who say, ‘Well, we don’t like this. We don’t like it.’ Well, okay. What are your suggestions?" said Wyatt.
"We need leadership."
Wyatt said the massive cuts were necessary because the province did not give municipalities enough money for infrastructure in the last budget.
The province announced in its latest budget it would raise PST to eight per cent from seven per cent and divert all funds raised by the tax hike to infrastructure. But Wyatt wants more of that money to go to Winnipeg.
Katz agreed there is a need to come up with funds to address the city’s crumbling infrastructure but questioned many of the suggestions Wyatt made.
"Some of the ideas, in my opinion, don’t have a lot of merit," said Katz.
But, he added, "There are some I think that are worthy of a discussion."
He said he was "disappointed" with Wyatt for speaking prematurely before councillors could sit down and discuss the issues.
Wyatt said he wants the city to review the 2013 budget and have a plan in place to address the city’s crumbling infrastructure before July 1, when the province’s PST hike kicks in.
Any funding cuts in next year’s budget will be made by council as a whole, Katz added.