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The vote marks a clear division between the centre-left and -right councillors.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

Vancouver’s centre-right councillors lost the fight this year to keep a lid on the city’s property taxes, after those on the left banded together to ensure there would be money available for key initiatives on climate change and affordable housing by approving a 7-per-cent increase.

But one of the defeated five said she will now work extra hard in the coming year to remind councillors at every turn that it will cost a lot of money every time they come up with a motion to tackle a new project in the city.

“Whenever we’re getting a wealth of motions with big price tags attached, we’ve got a role to play in saying ‘What is the priority?’ ” said Sarah Kirby-Yung, with the Non-Partisan Association. “This time, we picked up and continued with everything we inherited [from the previous council] and then added on.”

The six centre-left council members, including three Greens – Adriane Carr, Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe – Mayor Kennedy Stewart, COPE’s Jean Swanson and OneCity’s Christine Boyle, all voted in favour of a budget package proposed by Ms. Carr that reduced expenses only slightly from what staff had put forward weeks earlier.

The final budget shaved about $9.6-million off a total of $65.6-million in new spending, on a consolidated budget of $1.6-billion. Each 1 per cent of a tax increase raises about $8-million.

For property owners, the 7-per-cent increase means city taxes alone will go up by $77 for a total of $1,122 for the median strata condo worth $740,000, by $183 to $2,663 for the median single-family house of $1.755-million, and by $225 to $4,114 for the median business property worth $976,000.

Increases in utility fees, the school tax, TransLink tax and Metro Vancouver tax will all add to the bill that taxpayers will get in July.

The vote marked the most clear division between the council’s left and right spectrum. Over the past year, many decisions about development or other issues have been along much less partisan lines.

“There was a clear ideological divide,” Ms. Kirby-Yung said. “And what they were going to do was determined before we walked into the room.”

Ms. Carr said the left-leaning councillors did confer beforehand on what kind of tax increase they were prepared to support and which services or projects were the most important to retain.

She said she and others believe the majority of the public want to see action on housing and climate change. As well, she said, part of the increase was needed to make up for 10 years of tight budgets under the earlier Vision Vancouver administration of mayor Gregor Robertson, when police, fire and engineering maintenance did not get needed increases.

“I understand it hurts, but the price tag will be bigger the longer we wait,” Ms. Carr said.

And, she said, while some residents are critical of the city’s spending on things such as the overdose crisis, housing or climate change, she couldn’t agree with that point of view.

“We’re in a new era. The era of doing just streets, sewers, roads, fire, police – that is over.”

The amended budget allocated $6.8-million for climate-change initiatives, such as upgrades to city buildings to improve their energy efficiency and $4.1-million for initiatives on housing affordability. Each $6-million accounts for about a 1-per-cent tax increase.

One chunk of money that was carved out in a revised budget was $500,000 for an auditor-general’s office – something that staff did not include in the original calculations but that a majority of councillors said is needed to ensure an office was set up quickly in order to start finding savings in city spending.

The newly approved budget counts on getting another $1.6-million from parking revenue on top of the $74.7-million the city already projected to collect from street meters, lots and parking permits.

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