City Staff Recommend Budget Cuts, Public Opposed

City HallDespite Think City and City of Vancouver surveys that show a majority of citizens support expanding or maintaining civic services, senior staff are recommending cuts to parks and no substantive expansion of civic funding when council meets on Tuesday, April 15 to debate the final budget estimates for 2008.

Think City surveyed 1,648 citizens through its web site or on the street between March 8-31 as part of the second annual Citizen Budget project. The vast majority of those surveyed said they want no cuts to city services and many citizens want the city to boost funding for libraries, cultural services, community centres, parks, civic grants and other city services. Moreover, the City of Vancouver's own public survey conducted in February backs up Think City 's findings. Out of 706 residents and businesses surveyed by city hall, the majority called for expanding or maintaining services not cutting.

The disregard for public input is most obvious when it comes to the $300,000 in cuts to the parks board that staff are recommending in today's final estimates. In Think City's Citizen Budget survey, over 97 per cent of business owners and residents said they wanted funding maintained or increased for the parks board. In the City of Vancouver survey, at least 89 per cent of businesses and residents called for maintaining or increasing funding to the parks board.

Citizen Budget survey participants also want the city to focus on improving public transit, making housing more affordable for low- and middle-income residents, and reducing poverty and homelessness. To read the Think City Citizen Budget detailed survey summary click here.