Vancouver eyes property tax, utility and recreation fee increases to fund $1.2 billion city operations in 2016
CARLITO PABLO (STRAIGHT) - The City of Vancouver is looking to raise the property tax by 2.3 percent, and increase utility and recreation fees to support its operations in 2016.
Staff have prepared a draft operating budget of $1.264 billion for next year, representing a 3.4 percent growth from the current appropriations.
Subject to approval by council, utility fees for water and sewer will increase by 4.2 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively. Fees for garbage, recycling and green bin collection will remain the same.
Fees for recreation programs and activities administered by the park board will rise by an average of 1.4 percent.
Most other fees related to development, building, trades, and related items will have a two percent increase based on inflation.
“The City of Vancouver has a stable and predictable revenue base, with property tax and utility fees making up more than three-quarters of the City’s operating revenue,” according to a staff report.
The property tax is the biggest contributor to the city’s operating income, constituting 57 percent of revenues. Utility fees make up for 20 percent.
The planned 2.3 percent increase in the property tax is expected to generate $15.3 million in additional revenue.
On the expenditure side, police services will get 22 percent of the city’s operating budget in 2016. Together with fire and rescue services, public safety’s share of the budget is 31 percent.
Parks will get nine percent, and library services, four percent. All in all, community-related services are getting 22 percent.
Staff have also recommended a separate budget of $325.2 million for capital expenditures. Infrastructure spending is funded by city borrowings, contributions from developers, and other sources.
Councillors will hear a presentation by staff about the budget and receive feedback from members of the public in a meeting on Wednesday (December 9).
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