The city wants to hear what Winnipeggers think about some proposed ideas to help cover the cost of the Winnipeg Police Service budget, including an option to add a levy to property tax bills.
The City of Winnipeg is asking residents to give their feedback on five proposed models to help fund the Winnipeg Police budget, which accounts for more than a quarter of the city’s budget.
According to the City of Winnipeg, the police funding accounted for $301.1 million of the city’s 2021 adopted budget, and is projected to increase in the next to years.
“The increased demand on City services, due largely to growth and other factors, has outpaced the City’s ability to fund tax-supported services adequately,” the city said in a news release.
“The Winnipeg Police Service’s budget currently represents over a quarter of the City’s annual operating budget; developing a sustainable funding model will help ensure the overall financial health of our city.”
The city said the average household contributes about 27 per cent of their property tax bill each year to police services.
THE FUNDING OPTIONS
The City of Winnipeg outlines five funding model options for consideration.
A slide from the City of Winnipeg released on Jan. 5, 2021, explaining five options for a multi-year funding formula for the Winnipeg Police Service. (source: City of Winnipeg)
The first funding option, which the city calls the ‘Status Quo’ is the model currently being used by the city. It would see a target set by a Budget Working Group, which includes the mayor and other councillors appointed by the mayor. Requests for money would be made to council, which would then make decisions across the whole city budget.
The second funding option would increase the police budget by the inflation rate. The city says in 2021, this would have added $413,000 to the police budget.
The third option would use modified inflation. The city said the rate of pay and benefits would increase in the budget to match wage and benefit agreements, while all other expenses would increase by the inflation rate. The city said if this option had been used in 2021, the police budget would have been $672,000 higher.
The fourth option would see a levy added to property tax bills to help cover the cost of the police budget. The city said if a modified inflation rate were used, this levy could be created to raise that increase to the police budget. The money would need to be used only for the police budget, the city said.
The fifth option would see a portion of the city’s property tax volume increase go to the police budget. The city said if this method were used, it would lower the police budget by $5.6 million.
More information about the proposed funding models can be found online.
HOW TO HAVE YOUR SAY
Residents are asked to provide their feedback on these proposed ideas. The input will be used in recommendations to City Council in March 2022.
Winnipeggers can complete an online survey which will be available until February 2. Residents can also participate in a telephone town hall on Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will also be five community events, which people can register for.
More details on how to submit your feedback, or to register for these events, can be found online.
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