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Council okays tiny increase to help libraries in final budget

December 18th, 2009 · 6 Comments

I had a story in today’s Globe in advance of the final budget decision this morning, with Raymond Louie hinting that council would move a little on some of the budget numbers but not on the big-ticket item — the tax shift from business to residential. And that’s exactly what happened.

The Vision councillors ended up coming in with a motion to kick in a little extra money for libraries so that Riley Park doesn’t have to close, the main branch is protected and the hours of libraries in “vulnerable neighbourhoods” are not cut. That worked out to a .26 per cent addition to the two-per-cent tax increase the council had said it would hold to.

Street banners and the anti-graffiti program were not spared, and there was no mention of saving the Bloedel conservatory or the petting zoo.

As for community-centre hours, I understand that the park people are reassuring city hall that things can be moved around and arranged so that there’s minimal reduction in services there. We’ll see.

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  • Not Running for Mayor

    The city worked on saving what needed to be saved by the city. The two items that the parks board cut were cut intentional. No need to fret though both of them will be saved shortly by good samartians. It will be a Christmas miracle. 🙂

  • Stuart Mackinnon

    The Park Board cut more than two items: expect to see more garbage in your local park–collection will be reduced; fewer flowers at Queen Elizabeth park; longer grass on boulevards and verges; and expect to see the Bloedel Conservatory and Stanley Park Farmyard either closed or in private hands. There will be service reductions at Community Centres; an after school program will not be funded; the Active Communities program will be ended; and less maintenance at your local community centre. And of course there will be fewer trees on the sides of our streets.

  • Wally

    but heh, we’ve got fancy new leased space for the engineers! you know; those guys that dug up, repaved, dug up. repaved, Cambie between Broadway and 10th FOUR times to get it right while constructing the Canada Line. Their excuse? “There’s a lot of services down there”. Well duh.

  • gasp

    Most of the residents I’ve talked to over the past few days are VERY unhappy with the service cuts – and especially with the decision to close the Bloedel Conservatory.

    None of these cuts would have been necessary if Council had better oversight over the real costs that it’s approving every day, every time it approves a plan or an idea that staff recommend without asking how much it will cost. As long as Council myopically looks only at the perceived benefits of some course of action, Vancouver taxpayers will continue to see taxes increase while services decrease.

    Many people believe this Council treats the public as if it’s superfluous to their decision- making process. If they continue act this way, I think they’ll find that their “honeymoon” will be over as soon as the Olympics are finished.

  • The budget fretting, particularly about the farmyard and the conservatory, are a whole lot of hot air:

  • Westender

    Yes, the budget fretting does appear to have been a whole lot of hot air. Council created the spectre of a $63 million budget “shortfall” and then set about undertaking funding decisions that suited their purposes. Even though two-thirds of Vancouver property owners said they were comfortable with a tax increase that would protect all services, City Council blew a bunch of hot air and ignored these property owners in adopting a budget that will damage this city for years to come. I’ve said it in the past, and I will say it again here: residential taxes in the City of Vancouver are a bargain. It is shameful what Vision Vancouver has done and will do to this city. Each time I see the stump of a non-replaced street tree I will be reminded to do what I can to ensure these people are not re-elected.