By Tan Mei Xi
The pandemic created a shortfall of up to $150 million in the City of Vancouver's 2020 operating budget, and 2021 could entail tough decisions, Coun. Christine Boyle told The PULSE on CFRO.
For example, Boyle pointed to the cap of 5 per cent cap on property tax increases, as proposed by the mayor. That cap would mean a shortfall of $17 million, which could entail the closing of two library branches, among other cuts. Other city priorities that could be delayed include progress on the city's equity framework, Indigenous healing and reconciliation projects, and Access Without Fear (ACF) policy. The ACF policy allows all Vancouver residents to receive city services regardless of their immigration status, a policy immigration advocates have applauded.
Boyle noted that city council has limited control of the budget for the Vancouver Police Department.
"We technically get to decide how much we allocate to public safety, with the caveat that the Province could overturn [the decision]," said Boyle.
She pointed to the decision made by the city council of Victoria a few years ago to not grant its police department the full budget increase asked for; the council's decision was later overturned by the Province.