Winnipeg digs deep to cover $5M deficit after December snowfall

A huge dump of snow in December caused the city of Winnipeg to overspend by $5.1 million last year, according to a report submitted to the finance committee.

City to draw $1.8M from general revenue, $3.3M from rainy day fund to erase deficit

A large amount of snow in Manitoba created a $5.1 million deficit. The city will draw from general revenue and its reserve fund to cover the gap. (Chris Armstrong/CBC)

A huge dump of snow late last year caused the city of Winnipeg to overspend by $5.1 million in 2016, according to a report submitted to the finance committee.

To cover the deficit, Winnipeg will draw $1.8 million from general revenue and $3.3 million from the financial stabilization fund, the report states.

As expected, city staff blame December snow for the multi-million dollar deficit. Winnipeg spent $44.8 million on snow removal and ice control last year, which means they overspent that budget by $11.3 million.

In November, before the major snowfall, the city said it expected to end 2016 with a surplus.

Winnipeg saw 68.8 centimetres of snow in December alone, compared to a 30-year average of 23 centimetres, the finance report states, citing Environment Canada data.

The federal weather agency's senior climatologist, David Philips, told CBC last December was one of the snowiest in more than 100 years.

In Manitoba, like the rest of Canada, provincial legislation prevents Winnipeg from running operating deficits.

Even after the $3.3 million withdrawal, Winnipeg's financial stabilization reserve is still on target, said the report. It shows the rainy day fund at $67.4 million, based on Dec. 31, 2016 results, which meets a goal of maintaining the fund at six per cent or more of the city's 2017 budget.

Winnipeg's finance committee meets Monday, Feb. 13 to discuss the report and other agenda items.