A new city staff report states that property taxes in Vancouver next year could increase as much as 10%, to help cover the costs of city council motions that have been put forward “over the past months, some of which will have budget implications over the next few years.”
The report said that a preliminary scan of the budget numbers “indicates that expenditure pressures will exceed those estimated in the 2019-2024 Five-Year Financial Plan.”
That plan estimated a 4.9% property tax increase to balance the budget.
However, “the 2020-2024 outlook indicates that the pressure would require a higher
tax increase of 6% to 7% to balance and could be as high as 10% to implement all of the various council motions.”
The report said the capital budget will reflect the second year of the four-year capital plan approved in 2018.
Initial estimates for 2020 are to bring forward projects of approximately $450 million or 20% of the four year plan, “with higher levels expected in future years as planning and design are completed and construction begins on major projects,” it said.
“Following this high level scan, staff will undertake the process of reviewing costs and revenues, including utilities and fees, in developing a proposed budget.”
This, the report noted, will include consideration of increased revenues and revenue sources, cost savings through technology, process improvement or service changes, and other opportunities to deliver services and programs.
Between now and when the draft budget is presented to council in late fall, the city will embark on its annual public engagement process for the budget.
Starting in mid-August, the public will have opportunities — online, in person, in workshops, etc. — to share their thoughts on the budget with city council, “as well as their own priorities for the services and programs we should fund more―or less,” the report added.
Last year, Vancouver city council approved a 4.5% property tax increase, as part of the city’s $1.513 million operating budget for 2019 and a $365.8 million capital budget for new projects in 2019.