The city of vancouver is considering a property tax increase of up to 6.3 percent to cover spending over-runs according to this article in the Province newspaper. The increase would be necessary to cover the current budget including proposed Olympics funding and is above and beyond this years 4% increase.
“In operating-budget estimates going before council Tuesday, budget staffer Annette Klein says the city’s funding shortfall amounts to a 4.9-per-cent tax increase. And $7.1 million in new spending could tack on another 1.4-per-cent to the property-tax bill.
“If we don’t make any changes in the budget . . . this is approximately what it would be to run the city,” said Klein. “On top of it, we have these funding requests.”
In July, the NPA-dominated council voted to cap future property-tax hikes at four per cent. “Now, what we’re going to do is keep working on this, and come back with some options on how to get to that four [per cent],” Klein said. Next year’s inflation rate is pegged at two per cent.
Last year, council raised taxes four per cent after a gruelling budget process. It cut costs to social programs and community and arts groups. The city also eliminated the equivalent of 25 full-time jobs.”
There is more coverage in the Vancouver Sun, where Peter Ladner suggests that even though a 6% tax increase is a ‘goulish’ prospect, citizens may tell council they are willing to accept a larger tax increase for more city services. That article also looks at some of the numbers:
“According to the “preliminary estimates” for the city’s 2007 operating budget, the total revenues next year are expected to be $823 million. But, as it stands now, total expenditures are pegged at about $846 million in projected expenditures.
That’s a “potential funding shortfall” of $23.4 million. If council uses a tax hike to fill that massive gap between revenues and expenditures, it would have to impose a 4.9 per cent increase.
Then there’s $7.1 million in new funding requests. The most expensive request comes from the senior managers on the city’s “corporate management team.” Those managers propose that $5 million be allocated next year to a “legacy reserve fund” for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
According to the budget document, a total of $20 million would be set aside during the next four years to “provide for the involvement of communities, citizens and businesses; allow the city to meet sustainability objectives; and be host of visitors and residents participating in the Olympic experience.”