Vancouverites facing nearly 10% property tax hike in 2023 budget

Click to play video: 'Vancouver property owners facing a nearly 10 per cent tax increase'
Vancouver property owners facing a nearly 10 per cent tax increase
The City of Vancouver's draft budget for 2023 is pegged ad more than $1.96 billion dollars, and includes a proposed tax increase of 9.7 per cent. Aaron McArthur reports – Feb 22, 2023

Vancouver homeowners could be facing a nearly 10-per-cent property tax hike, according to projections in the city’s 2023 draft operating budget.

The document, set to be presented to council next Tuesday, outlines a total bill of $1.96 billion, including $47.7 million in new spending.

Of that new spend, $18.2 million will go to new council priorities, such as the governing ABC majority’s pledge to start onboarding 100 new police officers and the plan to revitalize Chinatown.

Another $2.8 million is proposed for the park board, and $9.5 million would go to replenishing the city’s financial reserves, which were depleted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vancouver Police Department’s budget is projected to grow by about $28 million to $398,242,000, about 20 per cent of the city’s total budget.

Story continues below advertisement

The net result is a proposed 9.7 per cent property tax hike, nearly double what floated at council in November.

Click to play video: 'UBC study finds luxury homeowners pay very little income tax'
UBC study finds luxury homeowners pay very little income tax

“The property tax increase reflects the significant financial repercussions of the pandemic that included deferred investments as well as substantial use of reserve funds in order to manage revenue shortfalls and overall cost pressure,” the report to council states.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

It also provides an update to the city’s five-year financial plan, warning that maintaining current service levels would require am annual property tax hike of about 8.6 per cent, barring any new revenue streams or funding from senior levels of government.

“Our team have inherited a gutted and depleted reserve fund that actually has a negative balance, a half-billion dollar infrastructure deficit, and years of underfunding in services that matter to residents — that’s where we are,” ABC Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung told Global News.

Story continues below advertisement

Kirby-Yung said she understands that residents are facing a multitude of cost-of-living pressures, but that all governments in the province are also dealing with those pressures.

Click to play video: 'Swearing in for newly elected Vancouver mayor and council'
Swearing in for newly elected Vancouver mayor and council

ABC, she said, was clear during the campaign about its priorities, including funding police, mental health nurses and firefighters and improving Chinatown.

“That’s the approach we are going to take to the budget. We got an overwhelming mandate from the voters in terms of listening to them and what was important, and we’re going to work towards making sure that’s reflected.”

ABC’s election platform did not include any pledges on property tax hike limits, but during the campaign now-Mayor Ken Sim told Vancouver is Awesome a property tax increase of 10 per cent was “not sustainable” for residents or businesses.

Story continues below advertisement

“ABC made some expensive campaign promises and I think now they are learning a hard lesson of governing,” opposition OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle said of the draft budget.

“There’s a lot to fit into this budget. And my priority is to make sure we’re not doing it by cutting services that people across Vancouver rely on. I think it’s really important, particularly that we don’t see surprise last-minute cuts to this budget that the public don’t have a chance to have a say on.”

Councillors are set to receive the draft budget at a special council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, with a final vote expected March 7.

Sponsored content