December 12, 2017 11:18 pm

City of Vancouver approves 2018 budget, with a last-minute property tax hike

Councillor Andrea Reimer, who spearheaded the motion, says this will even the odds.

Chester Ptasinski / Global News
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Vancouver homeowners should be ready to pay more the next time the property tax bill comes in the mail.

The City of Vancouver has approved its 2018 capital and operating budget — and with it, an unexpected property tax hike.

Staff had originally recommended a 3.9 per cent hike but Vision Councillor Raymond Louie made a last-minute proposal to increase it again by 0.34 per cent.

READ MORE: City of Vancouver proposing 3.9% property tax increase in 2018 budget

The 4.24-per-cent hike was approved by all Vision councillors and the mayor, but NPA Coun. George Affleck disagreed with the move.

“It came as a complete surprise, there was no consultation with us or for the public for that matter,” said Affleck.

LISTEN: Councillor George Affleck speaks to Steele & Drex about the hike

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Louie explained that the hike would go toward housing initiatives and social grants.

“If he needed to find a couple million bucks, I’m pretty sure if he dug around the budget in next year’s finances, he could have found it,” said Affleck.

Before the extra tax, the city estimated a median household would be on the hook for an extra $87 per year, but Affleck said owners will now be on the hook for more.

READ MORE: Vancouver police seeking $700K for specialized safe drug-handling facility

However, finance chair and Vision Coun. Heather Deal said last-minute amendments to recommendations come up all the time.

“We’ve just added another $7 to [households] with the 0.34 per cent increase,” she said.

Deal agreed that having more time to prepare is better, but added changes like those are normal for council.

The city approved the $1.4-billion operating budget and $425 million toward capital costs.

READ MORE: City of Vancouver approves tax hike to tackle opioid crisis

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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