VANCOUVER – The City of Vancouver has approved a small tax hike intended to help address the opioid overdose crisis.
Councillors have passed a budget that includes a 0.5 per cent property-tax increase to support front-line service providers including firefighters who have been seeing multiple overdoses per day.
The city says in a release that firefighters responded to 745 calls about drug overdoses in November, and crews had to use the overdose-reversing drug naloxone 35 times.
The BC Coroners Service recorded more than 620 fatal drug overdoses across the province between January and October, about 60 per cent them linked to the deadly opioid fentanyl.
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The budget passed by councillors will see property taxes in Vancouver will go up by a total of 3.9 per cent in 2017.
The city says in a release that the budget focuses on building new affordable housing, improving city services and making Vancouver a greener, more resilient city.
“The City of Vancouver plays a strong role in supporting our city’s economic leadership and enhancing the livability and quality of life for our residents,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement.
“Our economy is thriving and we are responding to a diverse set of needs as our city struggles with the fentanyl crisis and a huge demand for affordable housing.”