Mayor says Winnipeg ought to expect 'pain' in 2018 budget

Mayor Brian Bowman suggests service cuts are coming to Winnipeg next year, partly because of the flat funding from the province.

Brian Bowman says city is still seeking clarity from province, which has already eliminated growth revenue

Mayor Brian Bowman addresses reporters in city hall's new media theatre. He says Winnipeggers can expect pain in next year's budget. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

Mayor Brian Bowman suggests service cuts are coming to Winnipeg next year, partly because of flat funding from the province.

Winnipeg's mayor said Wednesday the final budget of his first term is expected to go to council for a vote in December.

The city is already working on its spending plans for 2018 and the work is complicated by what the mayor described as a lack of clarity from the provincial government about its municipal funding.

The city is still looking for answers about provincial funding for this year and has received no indication of the province's intentions for next year, Bowman said.

The mayor said he intends to honour his 2014 campaign commitment to limit the annual property-tax hike to 2.33 per cent, but he said annual increases for transit have already been eliminated by the province and he would not rule out other service cuts.

"There is pain we are expecting in the budget and there will be some very difficult decisions we have to make and council will ultimately have to make," Bowman said at city hall.

The mayor said he will continue to press the province for more information

Premier Brian Pallister said he will meet the mayor tomorrow and said the two leaders have a good relationship.

The premier said cities must understand the province's embattled financial position, but committed to providing Winnipeg with more clarity about funding.

Next year is an election year at city hall. Bowman has not announced his intention to seek a second term, but is expected to do so by the spring.