[Updated – The public briefing went ahead Dec, and Council meeting Dec 11. Final vote is slated for Dec 18.]
Reference: Mayor Kennedy Stewart supports 4.9 per cent property tax hike; Property owners also facing utility fee hikes for sewer, water and solid waste fees (https://www.vancourier.com/news/mayor-kennedy-stewart-supports-4-9-per-cent-property-tax-hike-1.23529974)
The City of Vancouver is inviting public input on our 2019 budget. Below is text from an official release from the “Civic Engagement and Communications” department.
This is big stuff. The draft 2019 operating budget is $1.516 BILLION and capital expenditure budget is $568 MILLION (including new and ongoing capital projects).
This is important as the first opportunity for public input on the civic finances since Vision Vancouver was ousted from City Hall. Thus, it is a chance for fresh analysis, examination, dialogue, and public impact on how your money is spent and reported.
Main web page for Vancouver budget: vancouver.ca/budget.
See direct links for budget-related documents at bottom of this post.
The public is invited to …
- Write questions and comments to Mayor and Council
- Attend a briefing presented by City staff on Monday, December 3 from 5:30 to 7 pm at City Hall, Main Floor, Town Hall Room 110 (also streamed live on City’s Facebook page) [Tip from CityHallWatch: Free cookies, tea, and coffee. In recent years this briefing attracted just 5 or 10 citizens, so let’s show some serious interest this year, folks!]
- Speak at a special City Council meeting December 11 when staff present the budget. [Tip: Business improvement associations and unions always show up here or at the next meeting, typically to discuss the money they expect to receive. It would be great to see taxPAYERS and citizens get more organized, analyzing the budget, preparing, attending, and speaking.]
- Attend a Regular Council meeting on December 18 where our elected officials are scheduled to vote on the 2019 Budget. [Tip: The public should attend this meeting as well. Last year, Vision Vancouver proposed last-minute tax increases just minutes before the Council vote — increases that not even whispered about during all the prior public consultations. Unsurprisingly, Vision approved it.]
City Council wants and needs your input!
Click here for the Council meeting agendas and documents once they are posted a few days in advance.
CityHallWatch Wish List:
- More detail provided to the public about line items of the budget.
- More accountability and maybe a reduction in the mayor’s slush fund (see “Mayor Robertson’s $1 million ‘discretionary’ budget“).]
[Side note: Until about November 15, the “Civic Engagement and Communications” department was known as “Corporate Communications.” No announcement was made about the change in name. Another side note – the department is currently hiring a new “Communications Coordinator II” at $40.48 – $47.82 an hour, apply by Dec 2.]
Motions coming to City Council regarding the budget (added here Nov 28)
- Motion “Creating a ‘Baseline Review’ Task Force” (Clr Hardwick): … that Council appoint a three (3) member, independent Oversight Commission to undertake a baseline review of all city finances; and direct staff to report back to Council by December 18, 2018 with draft Terms of Reference
Motion on reviewing the mayor’s discretionary budget –
Taxpayer fatigue in Metro Vancouver –
Don Cayo: ‘It makes no sense’ how Surrey and Vancouver keep their books (with video) (Vancouver Sun, 18-Nov-2015). Excerpt: The financial figures bandied about by most City Halls don’t add up. Columnist Don Cayo explains why. Big Canadian cities, Surrey and Vancouver among them, are not only incredibly inconsistent in meeting their budget targets, but they muddy their accounting so badly that it is incredibly difficult to nail down just how far off-base their projections are.
While we’re at it…
Vancouver’s procurement policies are not transparent. A look at methods being used to circumvent accountability
(October 13, 2015).
Indefensible secrecy in City’s bid decisions? Compare Vancouver vs Toronto. Case in point: $8.51 million bid (3-year contract, supply of traffic control services)
2019 City budget funds key priorities (Official Information Bulletin, 27-Nov-2018)
The City of Vancouver’s proposed $1,516 million operating budget and $371 million budget for new capital projects ensures that important services can be maintained and improved, while at the same time proposes priority new investments to help meet the future needs of a growing and changing city.
The total capital expenditure budget for 2019 is $568 million, including new and ongoing projects. Continue reading