VANCOUVER -- Vancouver city councillors are sending budget 2020 back to the drawing board, following several rounds of questions to city staff, going line by line with the finest-tooth comb.

They want staff to report back with options for a leaner, cheaper budget as soon as possible.

The motion was introduced by Coun. Lisa Dominato, and seeks options for budgets with five, six and seven per cent property tax increases.

“My goal, and our goal, is to reduce that property tax increase for the benefit of residents,” she said.

The original budget called for an 8.2 per cent property tax increase.

“I have outrageous concerns about the current budget,” said Coun. Rebecca Bligh as she spoke about why she would support the amendment.

The motion calls for cost-saving options while ensuring essential city services like police and fire are preserved.

City staff indicated it could have some options for consideration as early as Wednesday.

But councillors caution that if they don’t like what they see, they could potentially still vote in favour of the original 8.2 per cent tax increase.

"We’re going to take a hard look at them, we’ll assess the risks,” said Coun. Adriane Carr. “It could be the risk is too great and if we don’t do this work now, we’re going to pay later big time.”

Council is expected to vote on the budget and the property tax increase next week.