Wood­stock vows to freeze prop­erty tax, erase im­pact fee

Winnipeg Free Press - - WINNIPEG VOTES 2018 - ALDO SANTIN aldo.santin@freep­ress.mb.ca

WINNIPEG may­oral can­di­date Don Wood­stock says he’ll freeze prop­erty taxes for the next four years, if elected, and elim­i­nate the im­pact fee.

Wood­stock said in an an­nounce­ment on Fri­day he’ll also lobby the prov­ince to re­move the school divi­sion and ed­u­ca­tion levy por­tion from the tax bill city hall is re­quired to send out. (A sim­i­lar prom­ise has been made by dozens of coun­cil mem­bers over the years, but no one has yet been able to get a provin­cial gov­ern­ment on­side.)

The city be­gan col­lect­ing the im­pact fee — a charge on new res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment in the sub­urbs — May 1,

2017. The rev­enue is sup­posed to off­set the cost of in­fra­struc­ture as a re­sult of the new sub­urbs, but city coun­cil put the money into a re­serve ac­count, pend­ing the out­come of a court chal­lenge from the lo­cal home build­ing in­dus­try.

Wood­stock, a for­mer Winnipeg Tran­sit bus driver who now owns and op­er­ates a com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial alarm busi­ness, said he’ll also freeze the busi­ness tax rate for 2019 and 2020, and launch a re­view of the busi­ness tax in the fi­nal two years of the term


“We are go­ing to look se­ri­ously at how this is cal­cu­lated, man­aged and at what other cities are do­ing,” he said.

Wood­stock doesn’t ap­pear to be a fac­tor in the 2018 may­oral elec­tion race. A Free Press/CTV Winnipeg Probe poll re­leased last week found Wood­stock had the sup­port of about two per cent of de­cided vot­ers, slightly less than vet­eran street cop Tim Di­ack but more pop­u­lar than four other chal­lengers: Umar Hayat, Doug Wil­son, Venkat Machi­raju and Ed Ackerman.

Wood­stock also an­nounced on Fri­day that real es­tate agent Brad Gross has en­dorsed him for mayor. Gross is a coun­cil can­di­date for the Old Kil­do­nan ward, go­ing up against in­cum­bent Devi Sharma and Kaur Sidhu, a phar­ma­cist.

Gross pre­vi­ously had run in 2014 in the St. Boni­face ward race, and ran for mayor in 2010, fin­ish­ing a dis­tant third in both elec­tions.

Don Wood­stock said he will freeze the busi­ness tax rate for 2019 and 2020.

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