Vancouver 2014 Budget highlights

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Gregor Robertson

The 2014 budget released today proposes low taxes, controls spending and invests in key programs, all with city services being enhanced and more Vancouver residents enjoying key community programs than ever before.

“This budget delivers low taxes and even better services for Vancouver, once again reflecting our consistent commitment to strong business discipline at City Hall,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “In a difficult time for many local governments, we’re keeping taxes among the lowest and taking care of the services people rely on.”

With the proposed property tax increase limited to 1.9%, the City of Vancouver will have the 2nd-lowest residential tax rate and 4th-lowest business tax rate in the Metro Vancouver region.

Vancouver’s total debt outstanding has declined by $191 million since 2009, with the Vancouver Services Review initiated in the same year having now saved taxpayers a total of $53.1 million.

The 2014 budget includes 292 metrics on a wide range of 56 city services.

You can view detailed information on everything from how much garbage is collected, the number of fire inspections conducted, usage for community centres and libraries, the number of staff per department, and reductions in greenhouse gases.

Highlights of the 2014 budget

Highlights in this year’s budget include:

  • A balanced budget with a proposed property tax increase limited to 1.9 per cent
  • Total debt declined by roughly $191 million since 2009
  • The Vancouver Services Review, initiated in 2009 to find efficiencies and reduce costs, has saved a cumulative total of $53.1 million
  • Through the Capital Plan, 2014 will see $72 million invested in transportation, $19 million for parks and open spaces, and $17 million for affordable housing

New information shows that 2013 was a record year for many public services, including:

  • Record year for in-person library visits, with 6.2 million, and almost 1200 more programs offered compared to 2009
  • Record year for pool visits (2,880,000); learn-to-swim enrolments (53,000); and ice rink visits (290,000)
  • Record year for 311: 925,000 calls this year, which is an increase of over 642,000 since 2009. At the same time, the service level has improved with 75% of all calls answered within 30 seconds

“Smart business decisions on the budget have saved taxpayers more than $53 million over the last five years while protecting City services, allowing us to make record investments in priorities such as affordable housing and childcare,” added the Mayor. “This budget also provides unprecedented detail on how the City invests tax dollars and the value delivered for residents, including items like better service from our fire department, better garbage and food scraps pick-up, and record usage of Vancouver’s world-class network of recreation facilities and libraries.”

Over 1000 residents and businesses participated in the first round of consultation for the Budget, which will be formally presented for further public input and debate at a special Council meeting on December 10th. An additional public dialogue session with City staff is scheduled for December 2 from 6:30-8:30 pm at City Hall.

Image Nima Zadrafi from The Glass Eye. For more stunning photography, follow The Glass Eye on Facebook.

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