Citizen Budget 2007

Citizen Budget 2007

Read: 2007 Citizen Budget Survey Summary

The majority of citizens who completed Think City`s first annual Citizen Budget online survey want Vancouver's mayor and council to maintain and expand city services not make cuts.

In addition, citizens want council to shift civic priorities to deal with the low- and middle-income housing crisis, the chronically underperforming public transit system and the growth of homelessness and poverty in Vancouver.

"Vancouver city staff recommended $7.3 million in cuts to existing civic commitments in the interim budget – this is way out of step with what citizens are telling Think City," said Think City board chair Neil Monckton. "More parks services was the fourth highest priority in our survey of 335 citizens, yet city staff are asking council to make draconian cuts to these vital services."

"In the interim budget report presented to council on Feb. 13, 2007, the parks board and Britannia Community Centre are facing a $453,800 cut to their combined budgets," said Monckton. "In their report to council, city staff admit that such cuts will ‘adversely impact the public achieving an active, healthy lifestyle and accessing open green space in an increasingly dense urban environment.'"

Think City surveyed nearly 10,000 citizens between Jan. 16 and Feb. 19, 2007 using email and broadcast voicemail to gather in 336 submissions on the priorities residents want council to incorporate into Vancouver's 2007 $840 million-plus operating budget.

"In addition to funding existing services, citizens told Think City they want council to take action on increasing affordable housing, improving public transit and reducing homelessness and poverty," said Monckton. "However, new spending recommended by city staff does little to address these top three citizen priorities. Instead, staff are asking council to devote the lion's share of any new money in 2007 – almost $2-million or 55 per cent of new unfunded spending – on more money for policing."

"City budgets are not only about what to cut or keep, they are about making responsible choices that reflect the priorities of those who live in this city," said Monckton. "Citizens are telling Think City that city council needs to maintain existing services and shift its long-term priorities to deal with the growing challenges of affordable housing, homelessness and public transit."

The top ten priorities for city council are outlined below with the percentage support in brackets:
  1. more affordable housing – this includes both social housing and middle-income housing (68.3 per cent)
  2. better public transit (40.8 per cent)
  3. a reduction in homelessness and poverty (32.0 per cent)
  4. more parks and recreation services (21.2 per cent)
  5. action on climate change by the city (19.9 per cent)
  6. continued support for the Owen/Campbell Four Pillars Drug strategy (19.3 per cent)
  7. no additional civic funding for 2010 Olympics (19.0 per cent)
  8. more childcare and daycare services (18.7per cent)
  9. more resources for public libraries (10.3 per cent)
  10. no additional civic funding for police department (10.0 per cent)
Click here for a complete summary of the Citizen Budget survey.