The City of Vancouver is considering an 9.3 per cent hike in taxes and fees hike as a part of its 2020 budget.
The figure is included in the city’s Draft 2020 Budget and Five-Year Financial Plan, set to be considered on Dec. 3.
The 9.3 per cent figure is a combination of an 8.2 per cent property tax hike and a 9.5 per cent utility fee hike. It also includes an 0.5 per cent tax shift from business to residential properties.
According to the city’s Draft 2020 Budget summary, that would translate to an additional $211 per year in tax for the median ($1.7 million) Vancouver detached home, and an increase in $143 in utility fees.
For the median condo unit, the tax hike would be about $89.
Councillors are divided on the hikes, which are the highest in a decade.
“I get it that 8.2 per cent is a big lift, but I also get that we need to do something to tackle the problems that have not been solved over the last 10 years,” said Green Coun. Adriane Carr.
“I think that these increases are too high,” said Non-Partisan Association (NPA) Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung.
“We need to look at a way to tighten our belt a bit in line with what Vancouverites and residents are having to do themselves, and disappointed that we’re not seeing that in the budget that’s come back.”
UBC economist Tom Davidoff said that while the hike might seem high, Vancouver’s property tax rates are actually some of the lowest in Canada.
“We have lower property taxes as a fraction of the value of homes,” he said. “In terms of dollars, we’re a little bit low.”
A breakdown of proposed tax and fee increases in Vancouver’s 2020 budget.”Property taxes are tied to assessed property value, which is set by BC Assessment,” said the city in a media release.
“The final property taxes and fees for 2020 will be set once a final budget is approved by Council following their December 10 meeting.”
The 2020 budget envisions $1.62 billion in spending, up $111 million over 2019.
It also looks at filling service gaps, in areas such hiring 25 new police officers and 30 new firefighters, along with improving the building permit process, an estimated increase of $40 million.
And it covers spending for council’s priorities, such as boosting funding for social housing, for street cleaning, and to fund the city’s initiatives to counter climate change, an estimated $23.8 million.
In July, city staff had advised that property taxes could climb as high as 10 per cent in order to cover a series of motions by city councillors.
The city is hosting an interactive, online public information session on Thrusday Nov. 28 at 11:30 a.m., which can be accessed here.
People who wish to sign up to speak at the Dec. 3 council meeting can register here.