2019 City of Vancouver budget proposes property tax increase of 4.9 per cent

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.

The full draft 2019 Budget and Five-Year Financial Plan is available now on the City’s web site, along with a nine-page summary, and will be presented in detail for City Council consideration at a special Council meeting on December 11.

The draft 2019 Budget includes a proposed property tax increase of 4.9 per cent, driven primarily by the following factors:

  • 1 per cent to fund additional investments in infrastructure renewal approved in the 2019-2022 Capital Plan
  • 1.7 per cent to cover increased costs related to the provincial government’s new Employer Health Tax
  • 2.2 per cent to cover inflationary and wage costs of existing services, and new investments to maintain and improve services


Household impact

The proposed 4.9 per cent property tax increase would amount to an extra $108 per year for the median single family home (assessed at $1.8 million), $41 for the median strata unit (assessed at $0.7 million) and $193 for the median business property (assessed at $0.9 million).

The proposed combined utility fee increase of 8.7 per cent is driven primarily by increases in utility program expenditures such as increased Metro Vancouver charges (including site preparation for sewer secondary treatment) and the costs to renew critical City utility infrastructure as approved in the 2019-2022 Capital Plan.

Over the past 10 years, Vancouver has had one of the lowest average annual property tax increases among Metro Vancouver municipalities, and the 2018 combined utility and property taxes for a median single-family home in Vancouver are below the average of other Metro Vancouver municipalities.

Priority investments based on public feedback

Public engagement on the 2019 Budget was completed in two phases:

  • Phase one involved a Civic Service Satisfaction Survey, conducted by telephone, to understand current levels of satisfaction with City services. This research helped guide the service planning and budgeting process for internal departments, and informed the priorities and investments in the proposed 2019 Budget. The survey results are posted on the City’s website.
  • Phase two included a range of digital and in-person activities to test priorities for spending, perceptions of financial management, and approaches to managing service delivery including tax levels and options to reduce taxes. The full engagement report is included in the draft budget document.

Learn more at a public briefing on December 3

Vancouver residents are invited to a briefing on the proposed 2019 Budget on Monday, December 3 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at City Hall, Main Floor, Town Hall Room 110, which will also be streamed live on the City’s Facebook page. Citizens can learn more about and discuss the proposed budget with City staff before it is presented to City Council for consideration at a special Council meeting December 11.

Council is then scheduled to vote on the 2019 Budget on December 18 at the regular Council meeting.

To register to speak at the special Council meeting on December 11, follow the directions on the City website. Residents can also submit questions or comments to Mayor and Council via the City website. Property owners can also find more about the City’s land assessment averaging process on the City website.

The City of Vancouver’s financial management has been acknowledged by credit rating agencies – both Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s – with the highest rating of AAA/Aaa. The City’s budget reporting practices were also recently recognized with an award by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), and Vancouver received one of the top rankings among Canadian municipalities in the CD Howe institute’s 2018 municipal fiscal accountability report card.