VANCOUVER Mayor Kennedy Stewart says he has put climate action and public safety at the heart of Vancouver’s 2022 Budget, following another challenging year marked by the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and the climate crisis.
“Budget 2022 is a direct response to the challenges of COVID-19 and charts a bold path forward with long-term, dedicated funding to respond to the climate emergency that has ravaged our region,” said Stewart.
After a summer of extreme heat and a winter of extreme floods, finding equitable, long-term funding for Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan was a key focus for Stewart. He said: “Budget 2022 includes a new $9 million annual and on-going Climate Fund to accelerate climate action with Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers, transit infrastructure, walking and cycling improvements, as well as building retrofits.”
As in previous years, public safety spending on police officers and firefighters is again the leading driver of budget growth, accounting for nearly half of 2022’s property tax increase. To help manage these year over year increases, Stewart included in the budget a request for the City’s new Auditor General to examine the Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) budget pressures and better inform future decisions.
“The VPD is under significant cost pressures, and as the single largest component of our budget at 20%, it’s important we have a third party look into this and provide residents with a better understanding of this spending,” he said.
Budget 2022 also includes more funding for homelessness prevention, enhanced street cleaning, libraries, mental health supports, and fighting the overdose crisis. To balance out these critical investments, the budget also holds vacancies and identifies efficiencies that save taxpayers $45 million. This hard work means tax increases are modest, $6 per month for the median condo, $14 per month for the median detached home, and $26 per month for the median business property, said Stewart.