Vancouver property tax increase proposal tops 9 per cent

It’s not the most eye-popping tax increase in the region this year, but homeowners in Vancouver could be hit with a hefty property tax increase if the city’s proposed budget goes through.

City staff are suggesting an increase of 9.7 per cent, saying the boost is needed to cover expected costs over the coming fiscal year.

Part of the funds would go toward paying for the 100 new Vancouver Police officers and 100 new mental health workers — a major pillar of ABC Vancouver and Mayor Ken Sim.

In November, the initial draft budget suggested a property tax increase of five per cent to help make up the money needed.

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The initial proposal came despite previous suggestions from Ken Sim and his ABC party that the money would come from “reprioritizing” funding for certain budget items, and not increases to taxes.

“Properties with a higher increase in value relative to the average change of their class could experience a much higher increase in property tax beyond the Council-directed increase, while properties with a lower increase in value could experience no change or a reduction in property tax,” the draft budget states.

“While the Council-directed property tax increase applies to the overall tax levy, the extent of change, year over year, in an individual property’s tax is determined primarily by how that property’s assessed value has changed relative to the average change within its property class,” it adds.

The city notes that there are some options for people to get “tax relief measures,” including a property tax deferment for homeowners aged 55 and over, and for families with children under 18 years old.

The draft notes that the property tax fee increases will be needed in 2023 to maintain existing services.

“A property tax increase of 5 per cent would be required to balance the Current State budget, with 1 per cent for additional infrastructure renewal, 2 per cent for increased funding for VPD services including the 2021 budget appeal, and 2 per cent increased funding across City services and risks around uncertain costs for the whole city,” the draft reads.

The total budget — if approved as is — would be almost $2 billion.

Last year, Vancouverites saw a 6.35 per cent increase in their property tax bills which included an increase in funding for policing and fire services.

Council is expected to begin debating the budget next week, with the final budget approval slated for next month.

-With files from Dean Recksiedler and Martin MacMahon

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