With a proposed property tax increase of over nine per cent forecast for the 2024 budget, city councillors are considering upping fees for things like renting an Uber and renewing a dog licence as a way to reduce the rate hike.
"People would prefer an increase in fees over an increase in property taxes," said ABC Coun. Rebecca Bligh of surveys conducted by the city on the matter.
On Wednesday, two reports will go before a finance committee about proposed fee increases and other ways to generate revenue.
One outlines initiatives that could cut the property tax hike currently needed to balance the 2024 budget by 1.4 per cent, or $15.2 million.
The other report seeks approval for increases to a variety of fees, which would raise things like business licences from $171 to $250, short-term rental fees, such as those for people renting their suites on Airbnb from $109 to $450, and a $12 increase to the dog licence fee.
The proposed fee increases also involve a six per cent increase for vehicles registered under the city's vehicles for hire bylaw, such as Uber or Lyft.
That could equate to about 15 cents more to hire a ride for the average trip.
Brings Vancouver in line with other cities
The report says staff have followed council's direction to look at options to increase fees and "that some licence fees be increased above cost escalation.
"The proposed increases will align the fees more closely with fees in other B.C. municipalities and generate new revenue for the city," reads the report.
The proposal comes at a time when many residents and businesses in the city are already struggling with costs related to rent, transportation and everyday items like groceries.
OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle argues fee increases are more regressive than property taxes and says it's not what ABC promised last election.
"Seeing that go up … feels like we're nickel and diming residents because ABC made expensive campaign promises without any plan for how to pay for them," she said.
Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim and his ABC slate want the city to find ways to raise revenue beyond annual property tax hikes. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
On Wednesday, staff will update councillors on other revenue-generating initiatives, which could include opportunities like sponsorships, advertising, naming rights and even donations to the city.
For 2023, city council endorsed a 10.7 per cent property tax increase. At the time, Mayor Ken Sim said increases in that amount could not become the norm.