Council Meeting Highlights: January 25, 2021

Jan 25, 2021

Here is a quick snapshot of the outcome of this week’s Council meeting. For details, please watch the video or view the minutes once they are posted.

2020: Year in Review – Mayor Booth provided an update of the District's accomplishments and challenges in 2020. Read her remarks in full here.

West Vancouver Memorial Library – Year in Review and 2021 Upcoming Highlights 

The Director of West Vancouver Memorial Library provided a presentation of the Library's year in review, outlining the many changes implemented as a result of the pandemic and providing a look ahead for 2021.

Housing Needs Report 

Completing a Housing Needs Report is a provincially-legislated requirement for the municipality. It was completed and presented to Council by an independent consultant.

The report provides valuable data for Council and staff when considering housing applications and policy, and it builds upon the significant work already completed by staff about current and projected housing needs in West Vancouver. The divide between incomes and housing costs, the lack of housing diversity, and the impacts on our community's demographics are evident. The report supports the goals stated in the Official Community Plan and Council intends to use the information in the report to update the housing objectives in Council's Strategic Plan.

Council received the report for information.

Proposed 2021 Operating and Capital Budget

The 2021 budget is very much a continuation of the 2020 budget and the impacts of COVID-19 on the District's finances and work plan. In response to the $12 million loss of revenue and economic uncertainty, the District completely redeveloped the 2020 budget, including cutting services and capital investments. Further adjustments were made to the budget in September of 2020. Key lessons learned from COVID-19 that have been applied to the development of the 2021 budget include:

  • there are greater and more urgent needs in the community than previously assumed
  • there is more flexibility in operations than previously assumed
  • rapid changes, and the need to pivot to accommodate them, are a given
  • resources are limited and must be allocated strategically
  • a priority-based annual budget with targeted investment, and flexible terms, is crucial
  • at the same time, the long-term needs of the community must also be considered

For 2021, the District’s proposed annual budget is based on the following principles:

  1. Strategic focus: divisional work plans tied directly to Council’s strategic objectives
  2. Productivity: resources allocated to produce maximum results
  3. Outcomes: KPI’s in place and monitored
  4. Transparency: regular reporting of progress towards objectives to Council and the public
  5. Operational efficiency: internal and external processes updated as needed
The operational budget has been developed to stabilize the organization and deliver the objectives in Council's Strategic Plan. The proposed property tax increase to accomplish this is 1.48%, which is lower than the rate of inflation.
 
The District's almost $12 million loss in revenues in 2020 directly impacted the funds available for the maintenance of the District's assets. About $5 million of these revenues have returned, but the District is still behind. Capital funding must become much more strategically targeted, and the District needs to continue building up the asset levy.  The asset levy is proposed at 3.00%, which will begin to recover the asset fund but does not provide the full amount required to maintain the District's existing assets properly.
 
Council directed staff to consult with the public on the budget as proposed.

Public Engagement
The proposed budget, presentation, and additional information about the budget are available for public for review and comment on January 26 at westvancouverite.ca/budget. Two virtual information meetings will be held to learn about the proposed budget and ask questions:
  • Thursday, January 28 from 6–7 p.m.
  • Friday, January 29 from 1–2 p.m.
Learn more about the proposed budget and provide input by visiting westvancouverite.ca/budget.

The next Council meeting will take place on February 8, 2021.



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