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3-Point "Positive Plan" 2012 Capital Budget Recommendations

November 21, 2011

I presented a three-point 2012 Capitial Budget plan that should be adopted by the City to ensure that any funds raised from the sale of City’s properties - like arenas and golf courses - are reinvested in capital projects, and not spent on operating costs.

I want to make sure that taxpayers don’t end up losing the decades of public investment they’ve made in properties like arenas and golf courses.   With this plan, the public investments are protected, a transparent process is provided and key investments are made that will benefit all Winnipeggers today and tomorrow.   The plan calls for funds raised from the potential sale of public capital to be reinvested in public capital projects of the same kind: green space to green space, recreation to recreation, infrastructure to infrastructure.   If his plan is adopted, the City will also be able to leverage new revenue without raising user fees or taxes.   The three-point plan is as follows:   1)Revenue from the sale of golf courses/green space is dedicated as new money, above existing budget, for capital improvements to parks and green spaces including walking paths, play structures, and public safety enhancements like lighting.   2)Revenue from arena land sales will be dedicated as new money - above existing budget - to community centres located within the same area of the arena that was closed.   3)Revenue from the property taxes associated with the new infill developments, such as those on City owned golf courses and arena sites will be dedicated to financing a Capital loan to fix Metro Winnipeg residential streets and back lanes.   We all know what bad shape our back lanes and streets are in, if we use a dedicated funding source to finance a loan, we can get to work fixing roads without increasing anyone’s user fees or property taxes.   It is essential that the City adopt a plan that reinvests proceeds from the sale of public property back into capital projects.   If you’re running a trucking business, you don’t sell off a truck and use the proceeds to buy office supplies. You buy a better truck. If we sell off capital and spend it on operating costs, it’s not just a betrayal of the public trust, it leaves the City poorer in the long run.