Vancouver city council approves 7% property tax increase for 2020

Dec 17 2019, 6:44 pm

The City of Vancouver has approved a 7% property tax increase for 2020.

The increase, approved Tuesday evening, is an adjustment from the 8.2% increase that was originally proposed for 2020, to support the city’s operating budget.

The 2020 Budget and Five-Year Financial Plan, includes a $1.6 billion operating budget and a $502 million capital budget for new projects in 2020.

“This budget reflects the priorities and choices of all Councillors and responds to the concerns we all heard from the public,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “We’re making critical investments in core front-line services like fire and rescue, police, libraries, community centres, homelessness and housing, while reducing or delaying spending in non-priority areas.”

The city said the 7% increase is equivalent to approximately $130 for the year or $11 per month for the median overall residential property owner in Vancouver and $225 additional for 2020 for the median business property.

The approved property tax increase is comprised of:

  • 3.4% to cover increases in fixed costs – funding required to maintain City services at present levels e.g. estimated impacts of future collective agreements and increases in rent, insurance;
  • 1.7% to fill service gaps and address risks – including the addition of more police officers and fire fighters, improvements to the building permitting process, and addressing compliance-related items (e.g. WorkSafe, health and safety);
  • 1.9% in investments to advance Council’s priorities – initiatives such as more affordable and social housing, investments in arts and culture, addressing the climate emergency, and a new city-wide planning process (the Vancouver Plan).

The city said the reduction to 7% from the  8.2% in the draft budget was achieved with reductions across the City’s operations including:

  • Delayed hiring for new positions to reduce staffing costs;
  • Reductions in discretionary costs such as training, travel and consulting fees;
  • A reduced snow reserve from $2 million to $1 million;
  • Reduced funding for the City’s portion of support for Oppenheimer Park (from $1 million to $0.5 million);
  • Reduction of the 2020 portion of the city-wide plan budget using carryover funding from 2019.

Also approved were the Vancouver Park Board budget of $136 million in expenditures, the Vancouver Public Library expenditure budget of $55 million and the $339 million Vancouver Police Board operating budget.

More to come…