Vancouver City Council adopts 2023-2024 biennial budget

The Vancouver City Council adopted the city’s 2023-2024 biennial budget at its Monday (Nov. 21) meeting.
File photo

The $1.7 billion two-year budget includes $1.37 billion in the operating budget and $0.37 billion in the capital budget

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver City Council adopted the city’s 2023-2024 biennial budget at its Monday (Nov. 21) meeting. The balanced $1.7 billion two-year budget – built around the city’s universal policy themes of safety, equity and climate action – includes $1.37 billion in the operating budget and $0.37 billion in the capital budget.

The budget reflects the City Council’s policy priorities for this biennium, which include Improving Community Safety and Wellbeing, Reducing Carbon Footprint, Improving Equity and Inclusion, Growing Economic Opportunity, and Exceptional Public Spaces and Places.

“This budget echoes the values and vision the city holds for the entire community,” said Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle. “It supports the city’s aspirations to improve livability, foster safety and wellbeing, and enhance our sense of community.”

The budget was shaped with the help of community input that came from a variety of sources and groups, including analysis associated with the Stronger Vancouver initiative. Capital and program investments were also informed by Vancouver’s newly developed Social Equity Index

“The budget reflects the priorities of both the City Council and the community,” said City Manager Eric Holmes. “Through it, we’re addressing immediate needs and issues while moving transformative initiatives that focus on the future of Vancouver.”

The budget includes staffing increases in multiple areas across the city including significant additions aimed at enhancing public safety. It improves capacity to deliver a robust capital program and to advance the city’s positive direction towards achieving its leading-edge climate action goals. It also builds on the work previously completed through Stronger Vancouver, created in 2016 to help enhance the city’s economic prosperity and livability. 

Highlights from the adopted budget include:

  • An increase in staffing by 110.35 FTEs. More than half are for police and fire services (52 in police and fire and 10 in departments that support public safety). These public safety positions are directly funded by recently voter-approved property and sales tax increases from Proposition 2 and Proposition 11 respectively.
  • Funding for efforts to respond to homelessness, including one new Safe Park, two additional Safe Stay Communities and expansion of the Homeless Assistance and Resources Team.
  • Significant capital investments into water, wastewater and sewer infrastructure systems, building resiliency into the future, supported by a proposed aggregate 6% annual increase on city utility rates (sewer, water, drainage and garbage). 
  • New and updated parks in historically underserved areas of the community, activities for pre-teens and teenagers, and new parks to address community growth.
  • A new citywide trail program to build connections between existing trails and improve mobility by all forms of non-vehicular transportation. 
  • A proactive outreach and education program to small and historically disadvantaged businesses, including those owned by minorities and women, helping them to become successful in contracting with municipal and county governments.
  • Key strategic projects that will play a transformative role in Vancouver’s growth, including projects in the Fourth Plain Corridor, the Heights, Section 30, Waterfront Gateway, and a $64 million investment in city streets.
  • Updating the business license fee and business license surcharge to generate additional funding for transportation, public safety, economic development and park improvements. 
  • A 0.1% sales tax approved by the Transportation Benefits District Board to fund and implement the Complete Streets policy.   

The final budget document, map of capital projects, budget dashboard and additional information will be available at beginning the week of Nov. 28.

Information provided by city of Vancouver.

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      I’m not ready to say “more cops.” Not yet, anyways. I AM ready to question just what are our cops doing right now? How long has it been since meaningful traffic-law enforcement efforts have been undertaken? (Vancouver drivers are pretty bad and getting worse by the month.) Are the Vancouver cops even responding to non-injury traffic accidents and/or property crimes? Where are the public-awareness and public-education efforts that show the average-joe what the cops are doing?

      I’m all for requiring some accountability for what they’re currently doing with what they have, before I’d agree to give them more money.

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    However much the City has, it is never ever enough. The City always wants more and more and more.

    I, for one, am experiencing a near daily increase in grocery prices. Look at the cost of gasoline today vs one year ago. My utility bills are all going up without exception. My car and home insurance rates have increased to the tune of 50% in the past year. So, like so many others, I make some hard decisions about where to trim back and what to do without.

    What has the City done to trim back or do without? What makes the City so special that, in these financially difficult times, they feel they can ask for even more of my money than before?

    Mayor Annie and the entire City Council are simply out of touch with the average citizen. They are concerned mostly about granting tax-exemptions to Kirkland and whoever is building the next glass-n-chrome monstrosity of the waterfront. They all, especially Mayor Annie, have demonstrated an unwillingness to take care of, and maintain, the existing infrastructure. They all, especially Mayor Annie, have promoted an anti-business climate by unreasonably increasing business fees and per-employee surcharges.

    I’m totally exhausted with Vancouver City and its leaders. Look at the condition of our streets. Look at the trash on our right of ways. They can’t seem to even get the “basics” taken care of properly. Yet Vancouver City leaders want more and more of my – and YOUR – money so they can chase rainbows and unicorns by having all-electric vehicles and a carbon-neutral footprint.


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