2015 City budget: $1.2 billion, with 2.4% tax hike: Decision in Council March 3 (Tues)

Dollar signs, CHWThe City of Vancouver budget for $1.2 billion goes for a final decision on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. That’s YOUR money, about $2,000 per citizen.

Below are some useful links and materials.

Our observation at CityHallWatch is that there is a real lack of coordinated review, analysis and advocacy on behalf of taxpayers and the public when it come to the City’s finances. This is complex stuff and time intensive. If you are aware of what works well in other cities in North America, please do let us know!

Here is the link to the Regular Council meeting agenda for 9:30 am, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, where the final budget decision will be made:

Nothing is stopping citizens from contacting the Mayor or Councillors directly to ask questions and express concerns and ideas, even at this point.

Here is the link to budget-related documents and materials, including the draft budget.

www.vancouver.ca/budget Continue reading

Council preview June 10-11: Heritage updates, Concord Rezoning & Creekside Park, Avalon referral and more

City Hall with Mountain backdropHere is a list of selected items in civic meetings for the upcoming week.

The City Council meeting for Tuesday, June 10th includes the “Heritage Action Plan” to slightly increase protection of some pre-1940 character homes in First Shaughnessy and some of the single family and duplex residential areas in the city (i.e. by increasing infill density). An updated version of the Heritage Register will be reviewed (includes a total of 7 additions and 12 deletions). The staff reports reveal that “From 2009 to 2013, 40% of the homes demolished in Vancouver were pre-1940’s homes.” NOTE that the Character House Network has sent a letter to Council on this topic. Click here on the Neighhbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV) website for the text.

Debate on the rezoning with 5 highrises at 1551 Quebec Street is also scheduled for the Council meeting; all speakers were heard on June 3rd. A total of 7 referrals to Public Hearing will be considered, including the Avalon Farm rezoning, 1155 Thurlow (9.45 FSR tower in the West End), a height increase to 75 feet at Great Northern Way campus and three Cambie corridor proposals. The closure and sale of a laneway at 1412 Howe will be debated; this is to facilitate the lot assembly for a 52-storey tower by WestBank.

The third item scheduled for the Public Hearing on June 10th is 998 Expo Boulevard (Concord 5B West rezoning). Two residential towers are proposed with a Floor Space Ratio of 8.14. It’s worth noting that the issue of delivering the 9 acre Creekside Park to the City is not on the agenda (there is only mention of a reconfigured park boundary and further ‘study’). NOTE that the False Creek Residents Association has been advocating for a park here for years. Click here (PDF) for a summary of key issues.

The agenda for the Council Committee Meeting on Wednesday June 11 contains a sports field amenity allocation item, the controversial Rize rezoning CAC allocation, an update on the Sochi 2014 mission, and a couple of grant proposals.

The Park Board meeting for June 9th includes discussion on the Sport Field Amenity Improvements Project (affecting a number of parks throughout the City, $3 million in expenditures) and the Trillium North Park garden.

The full meeting agendas are reproduced below: Continue reading