THE CITY OF WINNIPEG CHARTER ACT
The Chamber believes The City of Winnipeg Charter Act represents a positive first step in making fundamental change to the powers and responsibilities of the City. It reflects a change in mindset of the provincial government with respect to the relationship between the Province and the City. A move from “a creation of the Province” to “a partner of the Province” is an important shift in perspective, and although not totally embraced by the provincial government, there are some very positive indications in the legislation that the relationship is being put on a proper footing. It recognizes the City as accountable and responsible, and enables it to enter into agreements with the federal government.
The changes also make the legislation more understandable and provide a clearer idea of the powers, responsibilities and controls of the City. It is a move away from a “shopping list” of powers to a broader definition of City powers. It provides a good definition of “spheres of authority.”
The Chamber also supports the legislation for granting “natural person powers,” making tax increment financing available and addressing how to handle derelict properties.
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Recommendations:
- Move quickly to the next phase, in which the provincial government should address the powers and flexibility of civic government to improve revenue models, and the implementation of sound, creative tools to attract private investment to our City.
- Do not use frontage levies and variable portions for property tax as a means of increasing existing civic revenues. It must ultimately be revenue neutral, as the City continues its efforts to reduce taxation and become cost competitive in a global market.
- Address the City’s role in developing and amending the Charter.
- Establish a mandatory consultation process for provincial decisions that will have an impact on the City.
- Prohibit delegation of service delivery to the City without providing the necessary funding to deliver the service.
- Allow the City the flexibility to introduce and implement financial tools to attract additional private sector investment, to reduce the reliance on property taxes, to diversify civic revenue streams and to search for a tax system that rewards growth.
- Expand broad authority to define exceptions.
Adopted by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce board of directors, August 2002