2016 Preliminary Budget – Update #1 (Property Taxes & Frontage Levy)

Throughout this week and next, I’ll be posting a series of 2016 Capital and Operating Preliminary Budget updates on my website under Ward Priorities – Taxes.  On Monday, March 7, I will provide a breakdown on my website regarding how the 2016 preliminary budget directly impacts the South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Ward (specific projects in the ward related to roadwork, parks, transit, services, etc.)

This is the second year I’ve been involved as a participant in developing the City of Winnipeg’s budget, and will simply say it is not an easy task.  The way the ‘budget pie’ is allocated will never please everyone in a growing city with about 720,000 residents in 15 diverse wards.  I welcome any comments, questions or feedback – please Contact me. For complete in-depth details on the budget, SEE HERE



Winnipeggers will have multiple opportunities to speak to members of City Council regarding the 2016 preliminary budget.  If you would like to make a presentation to Council members on specifics in the budget, you must register in advance.  For specific details, please SEE HERE.

Prior to being elected in 2014, I marched down to City Hall 50+ times to express my perspective to Standing Policy Committees, Executive Policy Committee and City Council on items in the budget which I did not agree with – which ultimately resulted in significant positive change for our City.  If you are not pleased with how the ‘budget pie’ is being allocated, register and present your perspective at City Hall. You will be listened to. And if you are pleased with certain items in the budget– an e-mail or phone call is appreciated!



This first update will be at a very high level and focused on how the preliminary budget directly impacts HOMEOWNERS.

Mandatory Balanced Budget

The City of Winnipeg – unlike the Provincial or Federal governments – must table a BALANCED budget each year.

  • Province of Manitoba: Forecasting a $402 Million DEFICIT for fiscal year end (March 2016)
  • Government of Canada: Forecasting a $30 Billion DEFICIT for fiscal year end (March 2016)
  • City of Winnipeg:  The City’s Charter (governing documents) requires City Council to develop a budget that does not run deficits. The 2016 budget presents a BALANCED budget of $1.054 Billion in revenues and $1.054 Billion in expenses (click on image below to increase size):


2016 Balanced Budget Graph


Budget Challenges

The graphic below (click on image to increase size) represents the growing gap between projected revenue and projected expenses in the years to come. The gap for 2017 is projected at $51.7 Million.

2016 Budget - Future Budget Challenges


Breakdown of Homeowner’s 2015 Tax Bill 

The chart below represents a breakdown of the average cost of LAST YEAR’s City services on the assessed value of an average home ($262,780). I will provide a breakdown of THIS YEAR’S average cost of City services by mid-April, after the budget is passed.

While there are many numbers and perspectives presented in budget discussions, I think this one-page overview provides a very good explanation of how the cost of City services impacts the average homeowner. As an example, it’s interesting to know that homeowners paid an average of $509 for police service during 2015.


2016 Budget Impact on Homeowners 

For the average Winnipeg homeowner, this year’s budget impact is approximately $93 higher than last year.

    • 2016 Property taxes on an average assessed home ($288,190) are 2.33% = $38
    • 2016 Frontage Fee $5.45 per/frontage foot – on 50 ft lot                                = $55

When the breakdown for each City service becomes available in April, 2016, you will see increases primarily in four areas:

  • Police Service
  • Fire Service
  • Road Maintenance
  • Public Transit


Comparing Apples to Apples 

The two charts below (click on images to increase size) show how property taxes in Winnipeg have increased a total of 6.7% over 16 years, from 1999 to 2015.  In comparison, other Canadian cities have seen a more significant increase ranging from 49.8% to 78.3%.   This data represents only property taxes, and does not include frontage fees, which is perceived as a tax by many.

2016 Budget - Property Tax Comparison     2016 Budget - Property Tax Changes in Cities



Balancing a budget to needs, wants, and affordability in a progressive, growing city requires difficult decisions.  I have prepared this Budget Update for purposes of greater transparency, and to enhance communication with residents.  Your input is appreciated.   I represent YOU at City Hall, so please tell me what you think: Contact me.

More updates to follow!  Please continue to watch my website!


Twitter link:  https://janicelukes.ca/?p=4877