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  #161  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 2:13 AM
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From the Free Press:

Quote:
Report proposes sell-off of city assets


Updated at 4:14 PM

By Aldo Santin



Rookie St. James councillor Scott Fielding has produced a report that might fulfill one of Sam Katz' first campaign promises -- come up with enough money-saving and money-making ideas to raise the $56 million needed to eliminate the business tax.
But by his own admission, Fielding, who chaired the Economic Opportunity Commission, came up a few million dollars short.

Fielding and the other commission members released a report this afternoon that contains about 50 proposals to generate new revenue and save city spending over the next six years, totalling a little more than $50 million.

The proposed changes include a massive contracting out of civic services, capping wage increases for all city staff -- except police and firefighters -- to the rate of inflation, selling off city-owned golf courses and excess city land and selling city buildings wherever possible and then leasing them back, transferring control and operation of as many pools and fitness centres to non-profit and community groups, and partnering with schools and businesses to find savings in with public libraries.

"We've put together a balanced and measured approach to eliminate the business tax within six years," Fielding said during a news conference in a vacant downtown office space.

Katz said councillors had been briefed on the report this morning, said some of the suggestions were embraced and others were immediately rejected by councillors. However he said he was going to spend the next few weeks considering the proposals and deciding which among them he could support.
Katz said that despite the unpopularity of some of the proposals, he remains committed to eliminate the business tax completely.

"We started paying the business tax in 1901 and no one knows why," Katz said, as he stood beside Fielding during the news conference. "It was easy to take the money but no one wants to eliminate it."

The report was condemned immediately by Fort Rouge councillor Jenny Gerbasi, who described it as "a full-scale dismantling of city services with little research or insight into what the impact of these changes would be."

Gerbasi said the report essentially declares war on civic employees.

"This report represents an extreme and narrow view that I don't believe reflects the true values of the majority of Winnipeggers," Gerbasi said.

The report was prepared over the past six months at a cost of $45,000 -- $3,000 under budget.

No veteran members of council attended the afternoon conference and only deputy-mayor Brenda Leipsic, another rookie councillor, was among Katz's cabinet to attend.

Some of the money-saving and money-making ideas cited in the 44-page report are: Contract out city work wherever possible. Save -- $15-20 Million.

Cap wage increases for all city staff, except firefighters and police, to the rate of inflation -- Save $7 million

Target public libraries, through partnerships with schools, coffee shops and other partners, allow more volunteers to do library work -- Save $2 million.

Sell or transfer operation of as many pools and fitness centres as possible, seeking out partnerships with non-profit and community groups -- Save $5 million.

Sell off surplus land, sell buildings and lease back -- Save/New $3 million.

Sell naming rights for every city property it can't get rid of -- New $2 million annually

Sell off all city-owned golf courses and golf course property -- Save $1 million.

Close Animal Services, sell the building and give proceeds to Winnipeg Humane Society, contract out animal services to Humane Society, increase cost of pet licences -- Save $1 million.

Drastic increase in permits and inspections, in line with other major cities -- New $2 million. Charge commercial operators for snow dumping -- New $1 million.

Other ideas to save money and generate new revenue:
❚ Start a fraud and waste Hotline.
❚ Use more volunteers in city operations.
❚ Get employee feedback.
❚ More bulk purchasing.
❚ Contract out work/services to Business Improvement Zones.
❚ Eliminate park police, replace with private security firms.
❚ Finally convince the province to take over operation and cost of paramedic service and health inspections.
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  #162  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 5:47 AM
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the buisnes tax is stupid but to toss out 10% of the cities budget seems stupid .......
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  #163  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 6:06 AM
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the buisnes tax is stupid but to toss out 10% of the cities budget seems stupid .......
except .. by filling in empty lots also generates taxes. Increasing the number of workers increases the demand for housing, which also adds taxes.


The return on a vibrant economy is much higher without business taxes... in many ways. The business tax cost the city so much more than it collects.
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  #164  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 7:12 AM
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Yes but what is the time frame between getting rid of 10% of the budget from one revenue source and having it replaced? It isn't like the business tax will be removed and businesses will spring up overnight to replace it with their income taxes, is it? This isn't Sim city! There is no infinite money-giving statue, and businesses don't pop out of the ground over night.
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  #165  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 7:16 AM
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City Hall Ideas To Cut Costs And Increase Revenue
JUN 22 2007 04:20 PM

The Mayor's Economic Opportunities Commission is serving up what it's calling a menu of options to make up cash lost by phasing out the business tax.
The Commission is calling for the business tax to be eliminated within six years while making up that cash by cutting expenditures, generating alternative revenue, and having the city and province work together more efficiently. The group says this could all be accomplished by contracting out, selling off assets, creating partnerships with private sector and non-profit groups and by corporate sponsorships.

Among many recommendations are selling off city golf courses and fitness facilities, expenditure savings within the public library system, contracting out animal services and further partnering with the Humane Society and a possible user fee at snow dumping sites.

The report also calls for labour costs to be cut within the civil service.

CJOB's Colleen Bready reporting.
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  #166  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 4:47 PM
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Sell, partner, charge
To offset city biz tax loss
By JOYANNE PURSAGA, SUN MEDIA



A new report asks the city to sell, partner and charge its way to $56 million.

Yesterday, the Economic Opportunity Commission released a few dozen key ideas to replace the amount, which represents about 7.6% of the city's operating revenue and will be removed with the elimination of the business tax.

Coun. Scott Fielding, who chairs the commission, said the approach offers more than enough options to compensate for the lost earnings within six years.

PARTNERSHIPS

Fielding said the tax removal is needed to ensure Winnipeg's economy keeps pace with the rest of Canada.


"Our business property taxes are among the highest in the country," he said Fielding at a downtown news conference.

"This will make our city more attractive for investment."

The plan suggests partnerships with private and non-profit groups to run city services and states that $165 million of its current expenditures could be provided externally.

For example, the commission proposes to reduce labour costs for non-emergency workers by $7 million, primarily by holding costs to inflation.

The report lists joining public libraries with those of nearby schools, coffee shops and others to save $2 million as another option.

And it suggests selling off city fitness facilities and golf courses to save about $6 million.

Fees for city services could be readjusted to fit a cost recovery model, with specific mentions of city permits, pet licences and a new user fee for snow dumping site maintenance.

Mayor Sam Katz said the report recognizes the city needs to become more efficient.

"I'm not going to stand here before you and tell you that the city is being run as efficiently as it should be. I'm not going to tell you that in my opinion, we're not flushing money down the toilet everyday," said Katz. "There's no doubt in my mind that we are. We can do a better job."

But Katz stressed the city is not looking to produce savings through layoffs or facility closures.

"For one, this commission met with all the unions and, two, any agreement the city is in, of course, gets honoured," said Katz. "So that is not the scenario."

The report also suggests a land inventory reduction, the sale of naming rights for facilities to corporations and offering flower bed ad space in spots like the Charleswood Bridge corridor to boost revenues.

The commission also urged that ambulance services and health inspections be shifted entirely to the province.

It also suggested the city ask the provincial government to streamline funding by converting all grants to a set portion of the PST.

The Mayor noted a PST-based grant would ensure stable funding and improve the city's ability to plan.

NEED MORE TIME

Katz cautioned the report presents a menu of options for the city to pick from, not guaranteeing any one will succeed.

The province said yesterday it will need more time to assess the report before weighing in on these options.

But a spokesman said Winnipeg already is well-funded and has access to growth revenues.

A MENU OF OPTIONS

A few of the key ideas to recoup revenue once earned by the business tax:

- Seek partnerships with private sector and non-profit groups to save on services, including animal services, bill collection and road construction.

- Hold labour costs to inflation and cut costs for non-emergency staff.

- Join city libraries with schools and increase volunteer contributions.

- Sell city-owned fitness centres and golf courses.

- Contract out animal services and enhance co-operation with the Winnipeg Humane Society.

- Sell off surplus land.

- Allow corporate sponsors for facilities like pools and the zoo.

- Set rates to recoup losses in permit and inspection service fees.

- Potentially increase the portioning rate for commercial properties once 90% of the business tax has been eliminated.

- Get out of snow dump site maintenance or introduce a user fee to recover costs.

- Streamline grants into a portion of the PST to ensure provincial revenue grows.

- Shift ambulance services and health inspection to be run entirely by the province.
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  #167  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 4:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vid View Post
Yes but what is the time frame between getting rid of 10% of the budget from one revenue source and having it replaced? It isn't like the business tax will be removed and businesses will spring up overnight to replace it with their income taxes, is it? This isn't Sim city! There is no infinite money-giving statue, and businesses don't pop out of the ground over night.
True .. it won't be over night. It will probibly take 7 to 10 years before the full impact of resulting economic growth rate is realized.

With the elimination of this business tax the Winnipeg economy will perpetually grow at a higher rate... it will perpetually see higher levels of investment. It will also realize how much easier it is to retain people with a stronger business environment.
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  #168  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 4:55 PM
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Quote:
"I'm not going to stand here before you and tell you that the city is being run as efficiently as it should be. I'm not going to tell you that in my opinion, we're not flushing money down the toilet everyday," said Katz. "There's no doubt in my mind that we are. We can do a better job."

Finally a mayor who gets it!!!!!!! Make the city efficient .. and create a strong business environment.

If this goes through .. I'll be back ASAP.....

I smell opportnity in the air.
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  #169  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2007, 1:20 AM
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Intercontinentalexchange Inc. aka. ICE buys the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange.


From the National Post article:

Atlanta's ICE to buy Winnipeg bourse.

Quote:
Yesterday ICE chief executive Jeffery Sprecher served notice that it plans to use Winnipeg as a springboard to get into trading of all sorts of Canadian natural resources.

"This franchise brings to ICE a Canadian-based regulated futures exchange and clearing house from which we can develop additional derivitie trading and clearing opportunities based on the Canadian markets which are rich in natural resources" he said.
Seeing that ICE is on the verge of landing the Chicago Board of Trade and becoming the world's largest commodity market, Winnipeg could be seeing significant expansion in operations dealing in the Canadian markets. This spells very good news for Winnipeg. Could we possibly see the second exchange tower being built? It is possible as ICE has some very deep pockets and will be looking to take siginificant market share from the Montreal's derivative CAREX.
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Last edited by newflyer; Jun 24, 2007 at 8:21 AM.
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  #170  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2007, 4:49 AM
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Could we possibly see the second exchange tower being built? .

OOOOOO! I love towers!
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  #171  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2007, 5:57 AM
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Intercontinentalexchange Inc. aka. ICE buys the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange.


From the National Post article:

Atlanta's ICE to buy Winnipeg bourse.



Seeing that ICE is on the verge of landing the Chicago Board of Trade and becoming the world's largest commodity market, Winnipeg could be seeing significant expansion in operations dealing in the Canadian markets. This spells very good news for Winnipeg. Could we possibly see the second exchange tower being built? It is possible as ICE has some very deep pockets and will be looking to take siginificant market share from the Montreal's derivative CAREX.
:o

could we see the twin finaly geting built? and a reclading of the curent tower? sweet
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  #172  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2007, 1:42 PM
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:o

could we see the twin finaly geting built? and a reclading of the curent tower? sweet
No. When ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) buys a company they absorb it into their own. The media always tries to spin it to make people think that there is going to be some job creation. In reality all business moves to the ICE screen and infrastructure and development jobs get axed and the only people left standing are a few marketing and business people. Most of the work goes to Atlanta.

I used to work for a company that was partial bought by ICE.

More jobs leaving Winnipeg.
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  #173  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2007, 12:55 AM
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No. When ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) buys a company they absorb it into their own. The media always tries to spin it to make people think that there is going to be some job creation. In reality all business moves to the ICE screen and infrastructure and development jobs get axed and the only people left standing are a few marketing and business people. Most of the work goes to Atlanta.

I used to work for a company that was partial bought by ICE.

More jobs leaving Winnipeg.

:'(
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  #174  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 12:56 AM
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No. When ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) buys a company they absorb it into their own. The media always tries to spin it to make people think that there is going to be some job creation. In reality all business moves to the ICE screen and infrastructure and development jobs get axed and the only people left standing are a few marketing and business people. Most of the work goes to Atlanta.

I used to work for a company that was partial bought by ICE.

More jobs leaving Winnipeg.
You obviously don't know securities regulations.

The commodity clearing house is based in Winnipeg and is fixed in Winnioeg by charter. It can't nor will be moved to Atlanta or anywhere else. Winnipeg will become the centre of derivitive trading in Canada, backed by the marketing power of the Chicago Board of trade. ICE needed to purchase a chartered Canadian exchange with clearing house .. and the WCE is the one they picked, due to its involvement in commodities to match with the CBT, making it ICE world's largest commodity company in the world, with chartered exchanges in the States and Canada. Canada having massive amounts of commodity trading .. and Winnioeg to pick up that business.

Talking to a few in the industry they say look for significant expansion, especially if Winnipeg gets into base metals and energy trading, which is ICE stated intensions. This could be huge for Winnipeg.

Alberta can dig it up ... and Winnipeg can sell it.
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  #175  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 1:07 AM
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You obviously don't know securities regulations.

The commodity clearing house is based in Winnipeg and is fixed in Winnioeg by charter. It can't nor will be moved to Atlanta or anywhere else. Winnipeg will become the centre of derivitive trading in Canada, backed by the marketing power of the Chicago Board of trade. ICE needed to purchase a chartered Canadian exchange with clearing house .. and the WCE is the one they picked, due to its involvement in commodities to match with the CBT, making it ICE world's largest commodity company in the world, with chartered exchanges in the States and Canada. Canada having massive amounts of commodity trading .. and Winnioeg to pick up that business.

Talking to a few in the industry they say look for significant expansion, especially if Winnipeg gets into base metals and energy trading, which is ICE stated intensions. This could be huge for Winnipeg.
new boom?
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  #176  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 1:13 AM
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new boom?
Boom may be strong .. but you'll see many more nationals and international deritive trading companies setting up offices in Winnipeg.

I know in Dallas, Houston and even Calgary there are companies which only deal in energy futures. There are also some companies which deal base metal futures, while Winnipeg already contain grain futures, while many other companies conduct risk management through dirivitive trading of various types, depending on the line of business they are in.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming years.
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  #177  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 1:44 AM
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Boom may be strong .. but you'll see many more nationals and international deritive trading companies setting up offices in Winnipeg.

I know in Dallas, Houston and even Calgary there are companies which only deal in energy futures. There are also some companies which deal base metal futures, while Winnipeg already contain grain futures, while many other companies conduct risk management through dirivitive trading or various types, depending of the line of business they are in.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming years.
who knows whats in store for winnipeg could be interesting times ahead
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  #178  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 5:34 AM
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who knows whats in store for winnipeg could be interesting times ahead
I'm counting on a very interesting future ...
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  #179  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 6:40 AM
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I hate to count my chickens before they hatch, but the last 12 months have been very, very encouraging in Winnipeg.

Hopefully the potentially BCE inc. deal has something in it for Winnipeg. We'll see how things shake down, whether CanWest gets their feet wet, or the market is opened up for MTS.
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  #180  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2007, 1:36 PM
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You obviously don't know securities regulations.

The commodity clearing house is based in Winnipeg and is fixed in Winnioeg by charter. It can't nor will be moved to Atlanta or anywhere else. Winnipeg will become the centre of derivitive trading in Canada, backed by the marketing power of the Chicago Board of trade. ICE needed to purchase a chartered Canadian exchange with clearing house .. and the WCE is the one they picked, due to its involvement in commodities to match with the CBT, making it ICE world's largest commodity company in the world, with chartered exchanges in the States and Canada. Canada having massive amounts of commodity trading .. and Winnioeg to pick up that business.

Talking to a few in the industry they say look for significant expansion, especially if Winnipeg gets into base metals and energy trading, which is ICE stated intensions. This could be huge for Winnipeg.

Alberta can dig it up ... and Winnipeg can sell it.
The Intercontinental Exchange has been the biggest commodity trading house for years (it surpassed NYMEX two years ago). It didn't need the WCE to reach that milestone. The ICE has been buying companies at a rate of 4-5 per year over the past couple of years and the WCE is barely a blip in their financials.

As for energy trading there MIGHT be the possibility of some temporary equity derivatives trading. However the TSX is set to release their platform in early 2009 (delayed due to an agreement with the Montreal Exchange) so it could be short lived based on the dominance that it has over the publically traded equities in the energy and resources sectors.

As for physical energy trading in Canada most of the natural gas is traded at NGX (TSX owned with an ICE alliance). NGX made an alliance with ICE earlier this year in which NGX will act as the clearing house and all trades will be executed on the ICE screen. Thus increasing physical liquidity on the ICE screen and more clearing business for NGX. As a result the NGX screen will probably be shut down by the end of the year. The Alberta Securities Commission has no issues with this as the trades are still "NGX trades" and in terms of legal aspects are still "in Calgary".

I suspect that this will be much like what will happen to WCE. The trades will legally be under Manitoba jurisdiction but the trades will occur electronically on the ICE screen. As I said earlier you will see infrastructure, software development and other jobs getting axed and the people remaining in Winnipeg will be more of a marketing, listings and legal staff. There is no doubt that this is good for those that own ICE shares and that the WCE-related business will be a boost (albeit a small one) for the ICE shares, however don't expect hundreds of jobs to be created or new office expansion. I expect that the ICE will reduce the Winnipeg office probably by half. Any growth mentioned will be financial, trade volumes and overall market liquidity. The profits will reside in Atlanta and will be distributed to ICE shareholders accordingly and business taxes will be paid in the US. Manitoba will be lucky to get any taxes other than income tax from the WCE after the sale is complete.

The WCE was sold for basically one reason. The fact that the ICE is HUGE and provides them visibility on thousands of traders desktops throughout the world. The WCE had no way of competing and was essentially required to sell or sink. There is no way that the WCE could have ever had a derivatives screen that would rival ICE.
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