City Council was able to maintain or increase funding in a number of key areas, including:
- Significant new funding for the Vancouver Police Department which will result in 77 more full-time staff. This includes funding for 31 new officers and 46 civilian positions, and the redeployment of 19 existing officers from administrative duties to patrol duties.
- An additional $106,000 for the development of a comprehensive economic development strategy.
- A unanimous decision by Council for an additional $700,000 in funding for the arts, which results in an overall increase of 25 per cent in the Cityâ€™s budget for arts and culture over the past two years.
- Funding of $3.8 million for community service grants, an increase of 2 per cent over the 2005 budget.
We have protected the services and programs that citizens care about most, such as libraries, parks, police and fire services, community services, economic development, arts and culture. These are the things that will help us to maintain Vancouver's quality of life. At the same time, we have held to a moderate tax increase of 4% for this budget year.
It is also important that our city has an environment that is supportive of a healthy business sector, and that we are well positioned to attract new head offices and retain local businesses.
That is why our budget provided new funding to the Vancouver Economic Development Commission: to help increase the long-term economic health of our city.
We must also begin to address the issue of taxation levels for our neighbourhood businesses as part of this strategy. I simply donâ€™t believe it is balanced to have our small businesses pay six times the tax rate of our residents.
I would like to thank all of those Vancouver citizens and business owners who let us know their spending priorities through public meetings, surveys and polling. We could not have achieved this balance without your valuable input.
I invite you to provide your feedback about the budget or any other civic issue, by sending me an email at email@example.com or calling my office at 604-873-7621.
Mayor Sam Sullivan
Budget 2006 Highlights
Arts and Culture
- As a commitment to support the upcoming Cultural Olympiad, Council unanimously approved an additional $700,000 in funding for the arts, over the 2005 budget allocation.
- The budget for arts and culture has increased by 25 per cent over the last 2 years.
- Funding for child care was protected with a total of $1.08 million in funding being provided to Vancouver families. Over the past two years, $2.1 million in funding has been provided by Council for child care.
- Council approved $3.8 million for community service grants, an increase of 2 per cent over the 2005 Budget.
Crime and Safety
- Council approved $2.7 million in new funding for the Vancouver Police Department which will result in 77 more full-time staff.
- This includes funding for 31 new officers and 46 civilian positions, and the redeployment of 19 existing officers from administrative duties to patrol duties.
- In an effort to continue Councilâ€™s support for the Four Pillar approach, $220,000 in funding was provided to support the Drug Policy and Prevention Program.
- Council increased the 2006 budget of the Vancouver Economic Development Commission by $136,000.
- Part of this new funding will be used to develop an economic development strategy for Vancouver in order to ensure we remain competitive with other jurisdictions in attracting and retaining businesses.
- Council approved a $1.38 million increase in the library budget which will result in no temporary or permanent closures or significant service reductions.
- Council has protected the Ready to Read program, the Vancouver Public Libraryâ€™s early literacy outreach program for children from infancy to five years old.
- Council approved a $2 million increase in the Park Board budget which avoids the permanent closure of services or the reduction of operating hours.
- This funding for our parks means that Council is protecting recreation opportunities for the public, which is in line with our commitment to increase physical activity 20 per cent by 2010.
- Council protected $50,000 in funding for anti-graffiti programs in order to meet our commitment of keeping Vancouver a clean and safe city.
- Council protected $425,000 in funding for street maintenance.