Vancouver plans job cuts to deal with budget shortfall
Faced with a $60 million budget shortfall, the City of Vancouver will be forced to cut 58 jobs by next year and up to 200 by 2012, officials say.
In addition to the job cuts, the city will be consolidating services that are currently duplicated, City Manager Penny Ballem told reporters Tuesday.
"We're not singling out any one department," she said.
Ballem said city revenues are at historically low levels, and in some cases are down by as much as 50 percent.
She also blamed the weak economy, budget cuts at the federal and provincial levels, and implementation of the harmonized sales tax for the budget shortfall.
If the city was to pass that shortfall directly onto taxpayers, that would translate into an 11-percent hike in property taxes. The city says it's not prepared to raise taxes at this point, Ballem said.
The city says it has found about $10-million in cost efficiencies.
But there likely will be cuts in some services, though officials aren't providing details right now.
"There has been an exhaustive process underway to look at what is essential, what do we need to have here in terms of services," Mayor Gregor Robertson said.
Some critics say the city's Olympic party plans aren't essential. But the mayor insists Olympic costs are relatively minor.
Parks and recreation will likely be one of the areas hit, and this comes on top of cuts that have already been made.
"This year we had to make some reductions in hours to lifeguards on the beaches and we've cut back on the frequency at which we cut the grass in the fields, and we're going to have to do more of that," said Vancouver Park Board commissioner Ian Robertson.
There could be higher fees for some programs and road maintenance could be scaled back.
A final budget is set to be tabled in December.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart.