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Events, decisions, and reports at City Council this week

This is a budget I can stand behind. It rejects austerity, and it invests in a future that Vancouverites can feel more hopeful about.

Councillor Christine Boyle

December 18 2019 –

Vancouver City Council met this week to hear and deliberate on Budget 2020 and a variety of topics during Council and Public Hearing meetings. 

Tuesday, December 17

The Council portion reconvened from the December 11 Standing Committee meeting to discuss Unfinished Business – 2020 Capital and Operating Budget (15 MB).

The 2020 Capital and Operating Budget (15 MB) was approved with amendments. 

“This week Council passed a budget that makes critical investments in ramping up our climate emergency response, protecting renters, fully funding our exciting Culture l Shift Plan, strengthening our equity and anti-racism work, repairing aging infrastructure, and more,” said Councillor Christine Boyle. “It’s never politically popular to raise taxes. But it’s also not responsible to continue to push these costs down the road. This is a budget I can stand behind. It rejects austerity, and it invests in a future that Vancouverites can feel more hopeful about.”

“I was happy to amend the proposed budget to bring down the tax increase through belt tightening in all departments: reducing discretionary spending, delaying hiring, delaying some projects,” said Councillor Adriane Carr. “It’s still a big increase, but for good reason. Low tax rates in the past meant the city didn’t invest enough in infrastructure and emergency services. We now have breaking water mains, and short-staffed fire and police forces, on top of housing, homelessness and climate emergencies. This budget invests in the critical city services that I believe people need and want: affordable housing, public infrastructure kept in good repair, community services that keep our city livable, and the climate action necessary for a safe, secure future for our children and grandchildren.”

On Tuesday evening a Public Hearing was held.

Council heard from 54 speakers on REZONING:1805 Larch Street (22 KB). This item was reconvened on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. 

Wednesday, December 18

On Wednesday the Public Hearing continued. 

Council asked questions of staff and debated REZONING:1805 Larch Street (22 KB). This item was approved with amendments. 

“Our history of zoning as a city – like many other cities – has been about exclusion, and about protecting a certain type of character over welcoming those who need a home. If our history has been about exclusion, our future needs to be about inclusion,” said Councillor Christine Boyle. “This building is 5 stories, with no displacement. It will provide well-loved, secure homes for moderate income families, in a beautiful neighbourhood, within walking distance to fantastic neighbourhood amenities. I hope these new neighbours will feel welcome. Housing is a right, and they have every right to be there.” 

Council will convene next on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. 

Amendments

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

2020 Capital and Operating Budget

A. THAT Council approve fixed costs of $52.7 million outlined in the operating budget section of Appendix 1 of this report, including reprioritization of existing resources to align with Council priorities as outlined in Appendix H of Appendix 1, except amended as follows:

  • i. Discretionary costs across tax funded depts be reduced by $.1m aligned to average spend  
    • (a) Excluding VPD:  $60,000
    • (b) VPD: $40,000
  • i. Lease costs in Real Estate and Facility Management be reduced by $.5m
  • ii. Wages and benefits across tax funded depts be reduced by $.3m aligned to total wages and benefits
    • a. Excluding VPD:  $180,000
    • b. VPD: $120,000

B. THAT Council approve investments of $32.9 million to address risk and service gaps outlined in the operating budget section of Appendix 1 of this report and in Appendix F of Appendix 1, excluding VFRS and except amended as follows:

  • a) Reduced Operating impacts of capital for IT by $0.5 million
  • b) Set aside reserve for snow and storm events of $1 million instead of $2 million
  • c) Reduce infrastructure renewal by $0.5 million to $11.7 million with the delayed procurement of FH #12 seismic work from end of 2020 to early 2021; 
  • d) Reduce funding for Staffing for items to address service gaps for the following areas:
    • i. VPD operations review funding by $0.75 million to $3.75 million
    • ii. Engineering /Mattress recycling, manage street use programs and amenities, maintenance for pole painting, signs, and decorative lighting in support of BIA priorities;  by $72,000 to $0.4 million
    • iii. Park Board  - CCA funding model by $27,000 to $0.1 million
    • iv. ACCS - Social Policy/Indigenous relations/Cultural infrastructure/non-profit leases by $109,000 to $0.5 million
    • v. REFM - Safety, Operating and preventative maintenance, regulatory requirements, Security by $51,000 to $0.3 million
    • vi. HR - Organizational requirements and workload by $56,000 to $0.3 million
    • vii. FRS - Social Value procurement/ Inventory management by $37,000 to $0.2 million
    • viii. Clerks - Public Policies/Legislative requirements/FOI Requirements by $15,000 to $0.1 million
    • ix. CMO - Community Resilience, public engagement byf $17,000 to $0.1 million
  • e) AND further that the Innovation Fund funding of $1,000,000 included in the operating budget section of Appendix 1 be reduced to $0
  • f) AND further that parking revenue included in the operating budget of Appendix 1 be increased by $1,600,000

B1. AND THAT, Council approve investments in VFRS to address risk and service gaps for a total of $3.9 million;

C. THAT Council approve new investments of $20.7 million to enhance core services and advance Council Priorities as follows and as outlined in the operating budget section of Appendix 1 of this report and in Appendix G of Appendix 1 (except amended as follows): 

  • a) $2.2 million to enhance quality core services that meet residents’ needs instead of $2.5 million (delaying streetscape recycling enhancement to 2020 to align with provincial program) 
  • b) $6.1 million to protect and build our economy (instead of $7.95 million) for:
    • i. The Vancouver Plan reduced funding of $4 million instead of $5.5m
    • ii. Chinatown Transformation $.7 million
    • iii. Culture Shift $.9 million
    • iv. Special events funding of $.5 million instead of $.7m AND THAT  $.2m be added to the funding from 2019 carrying forward to bring total funding to $0.7m
    • v. Excluding $.1m for Community benefits agreement
  • c) $4.1 million to address affordability and the housing crisis (no change);
  • d) $2 million to increase focus on diversity and critical social issues (instead of $2.5 million), reducing funding for Oppenheimer Park by $.5 million and directing remaining 0.5M to additional support services for homeless, living in and around Oppenhiemer park.
  • e) $6.8 million to accelerate action on climate change (no change)

D. THAT Council approve the following related to the Vancouver Police Board (VPB) included in the Draft 2020 Operating Budget, as outlined in the operating budget section of Appendix 1 of this report and Appendix F and H of Appendix 1 relating to the Vancouver Police Board

  • i. (a) Fixed costs related to collective agreements and other salary costs of $10.4  million including reprioritization of existing resources to align with Council priorities; (b) Non-salary fixed costs (equipment, supplies, and other non-salary costs) of $0.5 million including reprioritization of existing resources to align with Council priorities
  • ii. New investments to address risk and service gaps for the Vancouver Police Department:
    • (a) $2.5 million for collective agreement and other staffing related costs to continue implementation of recommendations in the Vancouver Police Department Operational Review
    • (b) $1.3 million for non-salary related costs (equipment, supplies, and other non-salary costs) to continue implementation of recommendations in the Vancouver Police Department Operational Review;
    • (c) And $0.6 million for DNA costs (but no salary or other collective agreement costs)
  • iii. New investments of $0.15 million to enhance core services and advance Council Priorities (but no salary or other collective agreement costs).

E. THAT Council approve the Vancouver Police Board 2020 Operating Budget of $339,530,706 in expenditures and $25,163,922 in revenues as outlined in the operating budget section of Appendix 1 of this report.  

F. THAT Council approve the Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation 2020 Operating Budget of $135,868,705 in expenditures and $41,888,892 in fee and program revenues as outlined in the operating budget section of Appendix 1 of this report.

G. THAT Council approve the Vancouver Public Library Board 2020 Operating Budget of $55,281,365 in expenditures and $1,245,700 in fee and program revenues as outlined in the operating budget section of the operating budget section of Appendix 1 of this report.

H. That Council approve the 2020 Property Endowment Fund (PEF) Operating Budget of $60.7 million revenue and $60.7 million expenses (including transfers) as outlined in Appendix 1 of this report.

I. THAT, subject to approval of considerations A to H, or as amended, Council approve the budget resolution attached as Appendix 2 as amended, of the report dated November 19, 2019, titled “2020 Capital and Operating Budget”, and as attached to this motion, thereby adopting the 2020 Operating Budget of $1,615,823,696  outlined in Appendix 1, resulting in an overall property tax increase of 7.0%, comprised of 3.4% to cover fixed cost increase in existing services, 1.7% increase to support investments required to fill service gaps and address risk including investment to support operations of new facilities, setup of storm/snow reserve and infrastructure renewal approved in the 2019-2022 Capital Plan, and 1.9% increase to support investments to improve service level and advance on Council priorities.

J. THAT Council approve an increase of $70.4 million to the 2019-2022 Capital Plan outlined in the capital budget section of Appendix 1 of this report with details in Appendix A of Appendix 1. 

2019-2022 Capital Plan

$ millions

  Original plan Approved changes to date Draft changes Updated plan
Affordable housing 540.1 2.8 20.2 563.1
Childcare 123.4 4.7 28.0 156.2
Parks and open spaces 264.5 4.3 - 268.7
Arts and culture 185.0 0.8 4.3 190.1
Community facilities 234.1 0.1 3.4 237.6
Public safety 47.6 0.3 - 112.0
Civic facilities and equipment 108.4 2.3 1.3 112.0
Transportation and street use 310.7 9.1 5.9 325.7
One water 615.8 0.6 - 616.3
Solid waste 92.2 - 2.5 94.7
Renewable energy 41.5 1.5 0.3 100.4
Technology 100.0 0.1 0.3 100.4
Overhead 20.0 - - 20.0
Emerging priorities 88.0 - - 88.0
Total 2,771.2 26.5 70.4 2,868.1

Funding sources as follows:

  • Operating revenue that funds capital projects: $9.1 million
  • Special purpose reserves totalling: $24.3 million:
    • Empty Homes Tax Reserve: $17 million
    • Vancouver Civic Theatres Reserve: $4.3 million
    • LED Reserve: $3 million
  • Developer contributions totalling: $5.4 million:
    • Development Cost Levies: $0.4 million
    • Community Amenity Contributions (Cash): $3.6 million
    • In-Kind Developer Contributions: $1.4 million
  • Other/External: $31.6 million

K. THAT, subject to approval of consideration J, or as amended, Council approve the Capital Projects Budget related to the Vancouver Police Board included in the Draft 2020 Capital Budget and outlined in the capital budget section of Appendix 1 of this report with details in Appendix B and C of Appendix 1:

  • a. 2020 new Capital Projects Budget funding requests totalling $6.7 million, with details in Appendix C of Appendix 1 of this report. 
  • b. 2020 Annual Capital Expenditure Budget of $8.9 million, with details in Appendix B of Appendix 1 of this report. 

L. THAT, subject to approval of consideration J, or as amended, Council approve funding requests totalling $502.3 million for new Capital Projects Budget to begin in 2020, as outlined in the capital budget section of Appendix 1 of this report with details in Appendix B and C of Appendix 1: 

($ millions) 2020 new funding requests 2020 expenditures (new portion) Future year expenditures
Affordable housing $72.3 $7.8 $64.5
Childcare 8.2 6.6 1.7
Parks and open spaces 40.9 18.1 22.9
Arts and culture 13.4 10.1 3.3
Community facilities 41.3 16.9 24.4
Public safety 9.8 1.1 8.7
Civic facilities and equipment 29.8 16.4 13.5
Transportation 77.0 68.7 8.3
One water 142.0 110.9 31.1
Solid waste 25.6 9.4 16.2
Renewable energy 8.4 7.0 1.4
Technology 25.9 25.2 0.7
Overhead 7.6 7.6 2.2
Total $502.3 $305.7 $196.6

 Totals may not add due to rounding.

Funding sources as follows:

  • Operating revenue that funds capital projects: $100.1 million
  • Debenture borrowing: $112.9 million
  • Special purpose reserves totalling: $63.2 million:
    • Plant and Equipment Reserve: $37.4 million
    • Empty Homes Tax Reserve: $17 million
    • LED Reserve: $3.5 million
    • Vancouver Civic Theatres Reserve: $2.4 million
    • Hastings Park Reserve: $2.2 million
    • Solid Waste Capital Reserve: $0.4 million
    • Public Art Reserve: $0.3 million
    • Public Art Maintenance Reserve: $0.1 million
  • Developer contributions totalling $180.0 million:
    • Development Cost Levies: $150.8 million
    • Community Amenity Contributions: $29.2 million
  • User fees and levies: $5.6 million
  • Other/External: $40.4 million

M. THAT Council, subject to approval of considerations J and L, or as amended, approve the 2020 Annual Capital Expenditure Budget in the amount of $701.8 million outlined in the capital budget section of Appendix 1 of this report with details in Appendix B of Appendix 1: 

($ millions) Previously approved projects New projects Total 2020 expenditures
Affordable housing $73.1 $7.8 $81
Childcare 36.2 6.6 42.8
Parks and open spaces 40.4 18.1 58.5
Arts and culture 23.6 10.1 33.8
Community facilities 22.8 16.9 39.7
Public safety 17.1 1.1 18.2
Civic facilities and equipment 38.3 16.4 54.6
Transportation 49.2 68.7 117.9
One water 24.7 110.9 135.6
Solid waste 42.2 9.4 51.6
Renewable energy 21.8 7.0 28.7
Technology 6.7 25.2 31.9
Overhead 0.0 7.6 7.6
Total $396.1 $305.7 $701.8

 Totals may not add due to rounding.

N. THAT Council direct staff to explore and implement transformation and increased revenue opportunities in order to address the on-going financial pressures expected in the 5 year financial outlook, including the recommendations forthcoming in the Financial Review Phase B – Building Capacity for the Future Report being completed by EY at the request of Council.”

O. THAT Council direct staff to work directly with Council to put in place multiple budget workshops as part of the 2021 budget development process where fixed costs, new budget proposals and cost savings opportunities are reviewed with the goal of good governance and well informed financial decision making;

FURTHER THAT the Operating Budget Policy (ADMIN-004) and Capital Budget Policy (ADMIN-005) be updated to incorporate these best practices and inform the annual budget development process;

AND FURTHER THAT staff report back during the 2021 budget process with the feasibility and implementation impacts of changing to a wellbeing budget process in future years.

P. THAT $500,000 be reserved and allocated from the Operating Budget or existent $750,000 remainder from the 2019 “Innovation Fund” toward the establishment of an Auditor General’s Office in 2020.

Q. THAT staff explore options through the City Sponsorship Policy to sustain Special Events Funding in future budgets.   

R. THAT Council direct staff to report back, as part of the next quarterly Capital update report, on options to reallocate funding within the capital and operating budget from additional general revenue and contingency to pedestrian safety measures to accelerate the implementation of local improvements, crosswalks and crossing enhancements, as well as LED lighting at intersections and along streets.

Revised Appendix 2 of the Report dated November 19, 2019, titled “2020 Capital and Operating Budget”

THAT WHEREAS, the Vancouver Charter, Section 219 requires that the Director of Finance submit to Council each year the detailed estimates of revenues and expenditures of the City for the year;

AND WHEREAS the Vancouver Charter, Section 372 requires that Council adopt the estimates of revenues and expenditures for the City as soon thereafter as possible;

AND WHEREAS the total estimated gross expenditures of the City to pay all debts and obligations of the City falling due in the year 2020, exclusive of the amounts required for school, Greater Vancouver Regional District, Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority, British Columbia Assessment Authority and Municipal Finance Authority purposes and not otherwise provide for, as amended by Council, amount to $1,615,239,280;

AND WHEREAS the total estimated expenditures as aforesaid is the sum of the appropriation requests of all departments and boards properly supported by detailed analysis of those expenditures and listings of the salaried staff;

AND WHEREAS the total estimated revenue of the City for 2020 from sources other than real property taxes, as amended by Council, amounts to $766,854,340;

AND WHEREAS the amount of the General Purposes Tax Levy so required is $848,384,940;

THEREFORE be it resolved that the said estimates, both as to totals and individual items pertaining thereto, of the Director of Finance as so amended by Council be and the same are hereby adopted by Council.

REZONING: 1805 Larch Street

A. THAT the application by Metric Architecture, on behalf of 1157013 B.C. Ltd., the registered owner, and of Jameson Larch & 2nd Avenue Limited Partnership (Jameson Developments), the beneficial owner, to rezone 1805 Larch Street [Lots 8, 9, and 10, Except the South 2 Feet Now Lane, all of Block 220A District Lot 526 Plan 1058; PIDs 014-980-789, 014-980-894, and 014-980-908 respectively] from RT-8 (Two-family Dwelling) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District, to increase the floor space ratio (FSR) from 0.75 to 2.53 and building height from 10.7 m (35.1 ft.) to 20.5 m (67.1 ft.) to permit development of a five-storey residential building which would contain 63 secured rental housing units, with 20 per cent of the residential floor area being secured as moderate income units under the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program, generally as presented in Appendix A of the Policy Report dated October 22, 2019, entitled “CD-1 Rezoning: 1805 Larch Street” be approved in principle;

FURTHER THAT the proposed form of development also be approved in principle, generally as prepared by Metric Architecture and received on January 24, 2019, provided the Director of Planning may allow alterations to this form of development when recommending the detailed scheme of development for final Council approval; 

FURTHER THAT staff work with the applicant to further explore the building massing, height, excess parking, setbacks and detailing to be more compatible with the existing neighborhood character, and to explore the opportunity to provide public amenity space on site for children's play and community socialization; 

AND FURTHER THAT the above approvals be subject to the Conditions of Approval contained in Appendix B of the Policy Report, dated October 22, 2019, entitled “CD-1 Rezoning: 1805 Larch Street”, except that Condition 7 of Part 2 of Appendix B be replaced by the revised Housing Agreement condition contained in the memorandum dated December 4, 2019, entitled “CD-1 Rezoning: 1805 Larch Street – Minor Correction to Draft CD-1 
By-law and Update to a Condition of Approval” with a further amendment to include a condition in the Housing Agreement that requires the moderate income rental units to be distributed throughout the building to the greatest extent possible, while taking into consideration the required family unit mix and financial constraints of the project, to the satisfaction of the General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability and the Director of Legal Services.

B. THAT, if Council approves in principle the rezoning and the        Housing Agreement described in the memorandum dated   December 4, 2019, entitled “CD-1 Rezoning: 1805 Larch Street – Minor Correction to Draft CD-1 By-law and Update to a   Condition of Approval”, the Director of Legal Services be instructed to prepare the necessary Housing Agreement By-law for enactment prior to enactment of the zoning by-law, subject to such terms and conditions as may be required at the discretion of the Director of Legal Services and the General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability.

C. THAT A and B be adopted on the following conditions:

  • (i) THAT the passage of the above resolutions creates no legal rights for the applicant or any other person, or obligation on the part of the City; and any expenditure of funds or incurring of costs is at the risk of the person making the expenditure or incurring the cost;
  • (ii) THAT any approval that may be granted following the Public Hearing shall not obligate the City to enact a by-law rezoning the property, and any costs incurred in fulfilling requirements imposed as a condition of rezoning are at the risk of the property owner; and
  • (iii) THAT the City and all its officials, including the Approving Officer, shall not in any way be limited or directed in the exercise of their authority or discretion, regardless of when they are called upon to exercise such authority or discretion.