Judy pledges to protect front-line services, commits to winter services plan

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Judy Wasylycia-Leis today announced details of her pledge to protect front-line services from cuts while improving those that don’t live up to the standards you and your family deserve.

“One of the keys to making Winnipeg A City That Works is to ensure we have reliable services for Winnipeg families,” said Wasylycia-Leis. “This means better snow removal, a better response plan to frozen pipes and 311 service that brings answers, not frustration.”

Judy committed that one third of her proposed property tax increase be dedicated to funding core services such as police, fire, paramedic, garbage collection, and snow removal, with the remaining two thirds being devoted to local and regional roads.

In addition to ensuring predictable investments in services, Judy committed to developing a winter emergency response plan so that families can get to work or school safely, can have water service restored more quickly and citizens have easy access to the information they need.

The winter response plan will focus on three key areas.

Snow Removal: A public review of snow removal with a specific focus on the 2013-14 winter to examine whether the current policy continues to address the needs of the city, especially in the face of increasingly extreme winter weather patterns. The review will also include an independent cost-benefit analysis of building in-house snow removal capacity.

Frozen Pipes: Investing in additional equipment and exploring options such as cross-training public works staff so the city is better equipped to respond to water service disruption as a result of frozen pipes.

311 changes: This includes better training so calls are more quickly triaged to departments with direct service expertise and increased resources to improve response times.

Judy’s commitment is also in sharp contrast to previous announcements by other mayoral candidates who have pledged to cut $10 million from the budget or to freeze taxes. These actions would put pressure on police, fire and paramedics budgets and would hamper the city's efforts to plow Winnipeg roads and respond to emerging issues such as frozen pipes.

“Frozen budgets mean the City of Winnipeg cannot appropriately respond to issues such as frozen pipes,” said Wasylycia-Leis. “I am committed to ensure we make sound decisions on service delivery so we can meet the needs of our growing city.”