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Events, decisions, and reports at City Council this week

December 12 2019 –

Vancouver City Council met this week to hear and deliberate a variety of topics during Council, Public Hearing, and Standing Committee on City Finance and Services meetings.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 

Council began with Unfinished Business from the November 27, 2019 meeting, Increasing and Collecting Fines Related to Fighting and Disorder in the Granville Entertainment District (86 KB), which was approved on consent.

The following memo and reports were also approved on consent:

Council then continued with Unfinished Business, Draft 2020 Budget (15 MB), from the Special Council meeting on December 3, 2019, where Council received a staff presentation (5 MB) and heard from 38 speakers.

The following items were approved:

Council then tabled a motion asking staff to report back with more information on the 2020 Capital Budget and Operating Budget (233 KB), detailing scenarios of 5%, 6%, or 7% tax increases at the Standing Committee on City Finance and Services meeting on December 11, 2019. Council discussion and decision was referred to December 17, 2019.

Council approved a number of reports on heritage:

Council also approved the report Closure and Sale of Portion of Lane Adjacent to 1465 West Broadway and 1489 West Broadway (82 KB), as well as the administrative motion Resolution - Closure and Sale of Portion of Lane Adjacent to 1465 West Broadway and 1489 West Broadway (706 KB).

Several by-laws were approved:

Approved council motions:

“I was happy that council unanimously passed my motion to ask the province for vacancy control in single room occupancy hotels,” says Councillor Jean Swanson. “Now all we need is for the province to act to prevent more people from being evicted into homelessness.”

Council motion Review of Bill 21 (37 KB) was referred to the Standing Committee on City Finances and Services meeting on December 11, 2019, to hear from speakers.

On Tuesday evening, a Public Hearing was held.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

A Standing Committee on City Finance and Services was held on Wednesday.

Council then received a presentation (425 KB) from staff detailing scenarios for a 5%, 6%, or 7% property tax increase, and asked questions of staff. Council then referred discussion and decision on the 2020 Capital Budget and Operating Budget (233 KB) to the reconvening Council portion of the City Finances and Services meeting on December 17, 2019.

The Committee then convened in Council to deal with Unfinished Business REZONING: 1940 Main Street (22 KB), which was approved.

Council will reconvene for the Council portion of the Standing Committee on City Finances and Services meeting on December 17, 2019 at 9:30 am.

Referral and amended motions

Please see referral and amended motions below. These are provided for your understanding and the published minutes will be the official record of the decisions at the meetings.

Referral motion for 2020 Capital and Operating Budget

THAT Council refer the proposed draft 2020 Operating Budget and the 2020 Capital Budget until receive for information at the City Finance and Services Standing Committee meeting of December 11th, and debate and decision the following week so that staff can present, as soon as practically possible, preferably before the end of December, detailed line-item options including potential risks or impacts of each proposed cost-saving option, to provide Council with options to reduce the budget in order to result in an overall property tax increase of less than 8.2% but no less than 5% with scenarios of 5%, or 6% or 7% tax increases.

FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to consider where cost savings, efficiencies and offsets can be achieved across all departments in the three areas of fixed costs, service gaps and proposed new investments. 

FURTHER THAT staff's review include consideration of savings opportunities in areas such as administrative expenses, general government and shared support services, while maintaining priority investment in basic services, as well as in the Capital Budget through potentially amending the timing and pacing of projects, while maintaining priority investments in basic services, public safety and first responder services, affordable housing, city-wide plan and climate emergency Council priorities.

FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to report back in the amended budget presentation on the impact of shifting from pay-as-you-go capital financing of sewer, water and solid waste projects to long term borrowing and how this might achieve savings within the 2020 operating budget and reduce the proposed property tax increase.
Subsequent to the above, at the Standing Committee on City Finance and Services meeting on December 11, 2019, the following was approved:
THAT the Committee refer debate and decision on the “2020 Capital and Operating Budget” to the Council meeting following this Standing Committee, scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at 9:30 am, as Unfinished Business.
Vancouver Symphony Society 2019/2020 to 2022/2023 Pilot Multi-year Grant Recommendations and Agreement:

A. THAT Council approve a multi-year agreement (“MYA”) with the Vancouver Symphony Society (“VSS”) for use of the Vancouver Civic Theatres’ (“VCT”) venues, and general operational support for the years of 2019/2020, 2020/21, 2021/22, and 2022/23, as laid out in I – VII below. The MYA will contain the following grants to the VSS:

  • I. Convert the in-kind Theatre Rental Grant to a cash grant to the VSS, for use of VCT’s venues, as listed in Appendix A, and continue this grant allocation process for the VSS for the next three seasons.
  • II. A cash grant totalling $479,760 to the VSS as listed in Appendix A, “Sept. – Dec., 2019” for use of the VCT’s venues; source of funds is the 2019 Cultural Grants Budget.
  • III. A cash grant totalling $816,140 to the VSS as listed in Appendix A, “Jan. – August, 2020” for use of the VCT’s venues; source of funds is the 2020 Cultural Grants Budget.
  • IV. A cash grant of $1,360,900 for general operations and use of the VCT’s venues for the seasons 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022/23; such grant to be eligible for an annual, up to 2% increase to the base level, subject to Council approval of an equivalent % increase to the annual Cultural Grants budget allocation; source of funds to be the 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 Cultural Grants Budgets. 
  • V. A reduction of $950 off the Council approved Full Day and Half Day Single Performance Rental Rates at the Orpheum (but only for those days set out in the Schedule “A” to the Theatre License Agreement (“TLA”) for the Orpheum and capped at 100 performances per season).
  • VI. An in-kind grant of $21,759 (over 3 years) in order to co-present with the VSS the programming for the “Day of Music” in 2020, 2021,and 2022 at the Orpheum; source of funding is the 2020, 2021, and 2022 VCT Operating Budget (Marketing and Community Engagement).
  • VII. An in-kind grant of $6,519 (over 3 years) to the VSS for use of the ANNEX by the VSS (subject to execution of the applicable TLA) to support the “Day of Music” in 2020, 2021,and 2022; source of funding is the 2020, 2021, and 2022 VCT Operating Budget (VCT Grant program).

B. THAT, pursuant to Section 206(1)(j) of the Vancouver Charter, Council deems the Vancouver Symphony Society as an organization that contributes to the culture of Vancouver.

C. THAT the General Manager of Arts, Culture and Community Services (“GM of ACCS”) is authorized to negotiate and execute the MYA to disburse the grants and support as described in this report on the terms and conditions generally set out below, provided that the VSS is in good standing with the City of Vancouver, and on such other terms and conditions as are satisfactory to the GM of ACCS and the City Solicitor.

D. THAT no legal rights or obligations are created by the approval of Recommendations A above unless and until the applicable MYA is complete and approved by the City in accordance with Recommendation C above and executed and delivered by both the VSS and GM of ACCS (or their designate).

E. THAT Council direct staff to explore the potential and impacts of amending the rates of patron per ticket facility fees, to assist in providing grant funding that helps sustains the City’s historical support for the VSS and the role of the VSS as an anchor cultural institution in Vancouver.