Mayor's Update: budget update
Apr 21, 2020
On Monday, April 20, Council gave first, second and third readings to a revised budget. These are extraordinary times. We had plans to do many innovative and beneficial things in the community, and all that has changed. The pandemic has forced Council and staff to completely re-think the budget, and some difficult decisions have already been made. The District will continue to provide all essential services, but all non-essential spending has been deferred. We are already experiencing a significant drop in revenue and have responded by reducing salary costs through layoffs and a hiring freeze. Our CAO is also in discussions to determine if further rollbacks can be realized.
Recognizing the significant financial impacts of this crisis on residents and businesses, Council reduced the originally proposed property tax increase to 2%. Council also deferred adoption of the budget until April 27 so that we can provide answers to questions about the details, and review the community's comments. Information and a community forum are available at westvancouverite.ca/2020-budget-revised.
Each member of Council will be taking personal action to help our community in this time of need, either through financial contributions or volunteer service. If you are looking for ways to help, I'd like to recommend the West Vancouver Foundation.
A contribution to the Foundation's COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will provide immediate assistance to our most vulnerable citizens. In the last two weeks, the Foundation has provided $20,000 so District staff can prepare and provide three meals a week to 135 low-income seniors in our community; $5,000 to the Crisis and Suicide Prevention Centre, which has seen a 66% increase in calls since the pandemic began; and $5,000 to Enhance West Van to support vulnerable youth who are struggling during this crisis.
To learn more, or to contribute, visit westvanfoundation.ca.
Please stay safe, and take care of yourself and one another.
Mayor Mary-Ann Booth