Image via City of Vancouver
In the news this week - Vancouver homeowners will want to be prepared to pay more the next time the property tax bill comes in the mail.
The City of Vancouver has approved its 2018 capital and operating budget — and with it, an unexpected property tax hike. Despite original recommendations of a 3.9 per cent hike, Vision Councillor Raymond Louie made a last-minute proposal to increase it again by 0.34 per cent - explaining the hike would contribute towards housing initiatives and social grants.
Before the extra tax, the city estimated a median household would be on the hook for an extra $87 per year, but Affleck said owners will now be on the hook for more.
"It's unfair to the residents of this city to suddenly throw in almost a half per cent increase … without any consultations at all," said Counc. George Affleck, who failed in an attempt to have the extra funding studied by staff to see if it could be included in the original $1.4 billion budget.
However, finance chair and Vision Coun. Heather Deal said last-minute amendments to recommendations come up all the time. “We’ve just added another $7 to [households] with the 0.34 per cent increase,” she said. Deal agreed that having more time to prepare is better, but added changes like those are normal for council.
The city approved the $1.4-billion operating budget and $425 million toward capital costs.
Wonder which priorities the extra tax will be used for?
$1.1 million for a tactical response team to review city-wide zoning regulations and establishing a renter protection manager.
$550,000 to support a bid for Chinatown to be named a UNESCO heritage site and support for "Chinatown Historic Discrimination programming."
$500,000 for additional social grants not in the original budget.
$300,000 to "reduce the amount of time to achieve permit approvals."
About 75 per cent of the overall tax increase will pay for ongoing city services and fixed costs such as wages, energy, rent and maintenance.
Before the additional tax, the increase amounted to an extra $87 per median single family home (assessed at $1.823 million) or $29 for a median strata unit (assessed at $609,000).
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