Vancouver mayor says he knows a 10.7% increase in property taxes ‘sucks’ – BC
The Vancouver City Council is currently proposing to raise property taxes by 10.7% next year. This is the biggest price increase in over a decade.
A 9.7% increase was previously proposed.
Mayor Ken Shim made the announcement Tuesday morning, saying he knew raising property taxes would be difficult.
“Frankly, they suck,” he said. “I completely understand that no one likes property tax increases.”
But Sim said the ABC Council majority was elected with a “clear mandate for change.”
“I think it’s important to discuss the financial state of our city,” he said. “Like many other governments in the region, inflation and rising labor costs continue to put significant pressure on local government budgets here in Vancouver.”
Sim said previous city council spending during the COVID-19 pandemic had depleted the city’s cash reserves, but the biggest concern is that core services have been neglected over the past decade.
He said this includes public safety, road maintenance, sanitation services and critical infrastructure maintenance.
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In the proposed budget, Engineering Services will receive $1,030,000 for road improvements, pothole repairs, and horticulture.
An additional $186,000 was allocated for micro-cleaning grants to help keep plazas and parklets clean.
“Recognizing the need for greater transparency in our city’s snow response, under this amendment, the dedicated snow preparation and response line item will end up at $1.8 million annually. Yeah, the city of Vancouver is literally in a blizzard during this press conference,” Sim said.
He added that $4.19 million from the budget will go to the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service, which could create 33 new jobs in 2023.
In addition, $3.6 million will go to the Vancouver Police Department’s budget. This includes his $200,000 for the Worn Camera Pilot Program, $450,000 for local policing, and $1.16 million for “communications and evidence management technology.”
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The Vancouver Public Library will receive $110,000 to create staff positions that provide training and build staff skills in crisis prevention and intervention, Sim said.
“In addition, $100,000 will be made available to help reskill staff, increasing the number of public service positions within the organization,” he added.
An additional $406,000 will be allocated to advance accessibility initiatives and hire language professionals to meet upcoming state legislation, enabling residents from a wider range of language backgrounds to participate in City of Vancouver offers and programs.
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With regard to reconciliation, Mr. Shim said the completion of ongoing work on gender, equity and safety related to missing or murdered indigenous women and girls and hazardous spaces, as well as increased intergovernmental relations, staffing said $210,000 would be allocated to allow for an increase in
“Finally, the amendment calls for the continuation of anti-black racism and South Asian cultural remediation efforts and reassignments to accommodate the hiring of new senior planners,” Shim said. .
“These investments can be made now, or they can wait until they become more costly and problematic for residents in the future.
“These are hard choices, but they are the right ones.”
Vancouver property owners face nearly 10% tax increase
Sim pointed out that residents are also facing 7% inflation.
“We are facing a humanitarian crisis in the Downtown East Side, so when people are living literally unbelievably in incredibly difficult and dangerous conditions, it’s hard to amortize that cost. It’s very difficult,” he said.
“When the aquatic center flank collapses, kit pools close for the year, and holes pop up all over the city, these are all neglected investments.
Some of the budget is also used for wages, Sim said. Those who work in the City of Vancouver are facing inflation and pressure just like anyone else living in the city, and he said they need to be able to keep good people.
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