Winnipeg to harmonize budget votes

The City of Winnipeg is tackling both of its next major financial decisions at the same time.
Winnipeg's budget adoption day is planned for early in 2013. (Google Street View)

The City of Winnipeg is tackling both of its next major financial decisions at the same time.

The 2013 operating and capital budgets will be adopted at the same time for the first time.

In the past, the capital budget, which covers the city's spending on infrastructure matters like roads, buses, bridges, buildings, and sewers, is typically voted on in December or January. In 2012, it was worth $393.

The operating budget, which covers the expense of running city services — everything from the police service to garbage pickup and recreation facilities — is the larger of the two and is typically voted on in March.

It was worth $900 million in 2012.

The change to a common voting day stems from recommendations in a 2008 Capital Project Management audit, according to the city.

Budget adoption day is planned for early in 2013.

"The majority of municipal jurisdictions are moving towards tying the capital and operating budgets together in order to facilitate proper planning," said Chair of Finance Russ Wyatt.

"As a result of the new process we need to allow a first charge, in order to tender and award various engineering consultant contracts necessary to ensure the projects can be started."

A report released Thursday identifies a need for $33 million to be spent on major projects in 2013, such as the rehabilitation of eastbound Portage Avenue (from St. John’s Ambulance Way to Sherburn Street), eastbound Corydon Avenue (from Kenaston Boulevard to Centennial Street), intersection improvements on Century Street at Saskatchewan Avenue, and projects along St. Anne’s Road, Lagimodiere Boulevard and St. Mary’s Road. 

Approval is also needed for $2.6 million to be spent on projects including Portage Avenue Bridge (Sturgeon Creek), and the St. James Street Bridge (Omand’s Creek).

The report will be considered by the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works on Monday.