Brandon City Council has passed the 2024 budget, which balances sustainability and affordability.
The needs-focused budget includes a 9.4 per cent tax increase. The critical repairs and improvements Brandon residents will see include:
- Additional police officers to keep Brandon streets safe
- Expansion of the police cadet program downtown
- More paramedics to put an additional ambulance on the road, making sure help comes quickly when people need it
- An upgraded water treatment plant to keep drinking water safe
- Land drainage improvement to prevent homes and basements from flooding in vulnerable areas
- The next steps on the Maple Leaf Foods Sports Field Complex
- A new ice plant at the Brandon Community Sportsplex, which will mean reopening the rink for hockey, figure, and public skaters
- New buses for Brandon Transit and Brandon Access Transit fleet, making sure people have a safe and reliable ride
- The establishment of a Medical Doctor Recruitment / Retention Program
- New program for lighting on City paths
- New grant program for household drainage improvements
- Establishing a resident home drainage assistance program
“Brandon families count on a great quality of life and reasonable taxes, and that’s what we set out to deliver,” said Mayor Jeff Fawcett. “This budget has a real focus on what people need, what they deserve, and what really matters like clean water, safe streets, and a livable city.
“We’re going to fix what’s crumbling. We’re going to make sure Brandon is safe. We’re going to invest in the quality of life. We’re going to make sure growth pays for growth. And we’re going to start the process of rebuilding long-term sustainability in Brandon’s finances.”
In late 2023, Brandon released a report from accounting and economics firm MNP, which concluded that Brandon needed to shift the balance between sustainability and affordability. By focusing the 2024 budget on urgent needs and re-prioritizing infrastructure repairs and construction projects, City Council is confident they’re putting Brandon on more sustainable path.
But the solutions can’t come from the City alone, said Fawcett. For seven years, the Province of Manitoba froze municipal funding. Infrastructure aged and inflation soared while provincial funding was stagnant.
“Brandon needs the provincial and federal governments to cover their fair share,” said Fawcett. “We’ve had new success in calling on our partners to join us in serving and building Brandon — taking some of the burden off Brandon taxpayers. But there’s more we need them to do. This year, you can expect me to be fighting for more governments grants for the people of this great city.”