How does the City spend your tax dollars?

    There are more than 80 public services that are funded through the budget, from public safety (fire and police) to engineering public works like sewer and water, to community services such as parks and recreation, arts and culture, libraries, social services, and planning and development. 

    You can read all about them in the annual service plans in the 2023 City Services document (PDF, 4MB). 

    What is the difference between operating and capital budgets?

    The capital budget is used to maintain, improve or build new buildings and other City assets – things like recreation and community centres, parks, firehalls, bridges and roads. Because these are large projects which may take several years, the capital costs included in each annual budget are linked to a four-year capital plan, approved by Council and voted on by the public every municipal election. Capital projects are partly funded by government grants and contributions from property developers (development cost levies).

    The operating budget is the yearly budget that funds the services and programs residents and businesses use. This includes things like fire and rescue services, roads and planning, water and sewer, garbage and recycling pick up, social housing and childcare and civic theatres. The two main sources of funding for the operating budget are property taxes and utility fees.

    What are some key considerations for the City's budget in 2023?

    • Inflation and rising costs
    • Global supply chain disruptions
    • Increase of CPI (the consumer price index)
    • High demands on City services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing overdose crisis
    • Increase of funding for VPD services including the 2021 budget appeal

    What is the final property tax rate for 2023?

    A property tax increase for next year is needed to keep the City running. The City’s costs go up every year, even if we are not making improvements to programs and services.

    Property tax and fee increases will be needed in 2023 to maintain existing services. For example, a property tax increase of 5% would be required to balance the 2023 Draft Current State Budget, with:

    • 1% for additional infrastructure renewal,
    • 2% for increased funding for VPD services including the 2021 budget appeal, and
    • 2% increased funding across City services.

    City Council will decide on the final property tax rate by the end of March in order to meet the property tax billing cycle.