Updated: Mar 18
Winnipeg City Councillor Kevin Klein
Is a balanced budget really a balanced budget if departments ask for more money at the end of the year? Do you consider your budget balanced if you need to use your credit card to live month to month? If you had to borrow money each year to complete projects and balance your budget, would you consider that fiscally responsible?
The City of Winnipeg does.
This week both the fire and police asked the finance committee for millions of dollars. The fire provided no tangible details. It was due to more retirements and other expenses. Would you hand over four-million dollars based on only those details? Some elected officials did.
The police asking for millions doesn't surprise me. Many of the Mayor's EPC inner-circle members voted to change the police pension outside of a negotiated CBA arbitrarily and eliminated tens of millions from the police budget, which backfired.
An arbitrator ruled against the mayor's decision and those councillors who supported him, directing the city to continue paying the pension and pay an additional $600,000 fine paid directly to members of the service.
The media asked me if I was shocked that the Winnipeg Police Service had a multi-million dollar shortfall for 2020 and had to ask for more money. Here's my response.
Read what other's told the media. Click here.
We can fix these issues, but first, we need to take responsibility for our mistakes and not hide behind COVID. Once we do we can begin to manage the city properly. The pension for police needs to be updated, no question, but done so correctly to ensure we eliminate the risk of costing taxpayers more money as it has in this specific example.
Right idea, just not managed incorrectly. We can do it better.