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Another city, another controversial budget: Vancouver to discuss 2020 finances, including 8% tax hike

Last Updated Dec 3, 2019 at 5:50 am PST

File Photo. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Vancouver city councillors are set to discuss 2020's proposed budget, which includes plans for an 8% property tax hike

Staff in Vancouver are proposing a property tax hike of 8.2 per cent -- the largest in more than a decade

Mayor Kennedy Stewart argues cash is needed to fund services like the police and fire departments

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There could be some bickering in Vancouver city council chambers on Tuesday.

Politicians are set to talk about next year’s budget, just a day after Surrey passed a divisive one in that city.

Staff in Vancouver is proposing a property tax hike of 8.2 per cent — the largest in more than a decade.

The City of Vancouver released a draft of the 2020 budget stating that half of the funds from property taxes would go to city services, while rest would go toward funding regional services, schools, and transit.

Those who support it claim the city is in catch-up mode and that the cash is needed to inject new money into services like the police and fire departments.

“We want to add more police. Over decades, there’s been a loss of on the beat police officers and this is one thing that council wants to do, while at the same time, more firefighters,” Mayor Kennedy Stewart said in November. “We are trying to reduce the amount of time that police would take to get to an incident and that comes from having more officers.”

The plan would see the average homeowner pay an extra $150 a year, while business property owners would be taxed $270 annually.

However, critics see it differently.

They complain taxpayers are now stuck with a big bill because the former Vision Vancouver-controlled council failed to do what was necessary to keep the city running.

If the budget passes, the overall budget will increase by 7.3 per cent in 2020 with a total of $1.62 billion.

The final budget will likely be voted on on Dec. 10.

-With files from Marcella Bernardo