2021 Budget

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District of West Vancouver's 2021 budget


Tuesday, March 9 update

On Monday, March 8, Council approved:

  • a proposed operational tax increase of 1.48%; and
  • an Asset Levy of 2.5%

…for a total increase of 3.98%.

Read the Council Highlights to learn more about the March 8 Council Meeting.

March 8, 2021 Report to Council with Proposed Capital (2.5%) and Operating (1.48%) Increase (Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw)

Update to the Engagement Summary Report

Update from the Mayor: Budget Edition

Mayor Mary-Ann Booth responds to frequently-ask questions and talks about the proposed 2021 budget in her March 5, 2021 newsletter.

Friday, March 5 update

The District’s 2021 Proposed Budget has been open for public input since January 26, and Council will hear staff’s recommendations this coming Monday, at the March 8th Council Meeting. Based on feedback, staff have recommended reducing the Asset Levy from 3.0$ to 2.5%.




2021 budget Background

Like any business or household, each year the municipality is challenged with increased costs. The cost of providing services must be balanced with a tax increase that the community can afford at any one time. For this reason, only the capital works and operating costs that are considered to be critical to providing services have been taken into consideration for the 2021 budgeting process.

The budget reflects the District’s ongoing commitment to provide high-quality services and programs to the community in a fiscally responsible manner, and supports Council’s Strategic Goals. These are:

  1. Significantly expand the diversity and supply of housing, including housing that is more affordable.
  2. Create vital and vibrant communities.
  3. Protect our natural environment, reduce our impact on it, and adapt to climate change.
  4. Improve mobility and reduce congestion for people and goods.
  5. Deliver municipal services efficiently.
  6. Enhance the social well-being of our community.

In 2020, the budget underwent significant changes through the process of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The originally proposed “business as usual” budget was withdrawn and reviewed in detail to make the necessary changes. A second, modified budget was created that took the pandemic into account.

The 2021 budget reflects the District’s continued response to the pandemic and the ongoing priority to provide high-quality services.

2021 Asset Levy

West Vancouver, like almost every municipality in Canada, has an ageing infrastructure that requires a long-term plan and financial resources to provide repair, maintenance, and replacement. This includes everything from community centres and the Seawalk to park benches, streets, and sidewalks. Over the next 20 years, virtually all of these assets will require capital investment to maintain their performance or to provide for their replacement.

The District’s original budget for 2020 (Budget 1) proposed a 0.50% increase to the Asset Levy. When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, staff revised the proposed plan to reflect the new situation and the Asset Levy was withdrawn. In addition, over $12 million in revenue was lost, and $7 million that previously supported asset investment had to be diverted to support continued public safety maintenance measures and COVID response. In 2021, the Asset Levy is proposed to increase by 3.00%, at a minimum, to replenish the amount needed to keep the assets functioning at the optimal level.

The proposed 3.00% Asset Levy increase is not sufficient to support the average amount required for infrastructure needs and to prevent assets from failure resulting from deferred maintenance. It is anticipated that there will be funds available from prior years’ projects that were completed under budget, and that these funds may be used to cover some of the shortfall. Use of the District’s Endowment Fund is also proposed.

2020 Asset Management Update – On November 16, 2020, Council received an information update on the asset management program, which was established in 2015 to identify the community's public assets, determine their condition, and develop a fund supported by an annual levy for their maintenance. There was a setback in funding asset management in 2020 because it was necessary to re-direct funds for COVID-19 response measures. Many important and worthwhile projects had to be postponed, and there is a need to rebuild this fund. The report included updated lists of poor-condition, low-use assets, and poor-condition, high-use assets that are starting to reach a critical phase and require investment.

2021 Operational Budget

After carefully considering priorities, the proposed budget includes a 1.48% increase to the operating budget, which is below historic rates on inflation and is the minimum required to respond to rising costs and to ensure the services most valued by our residents are continuously maintained and improved where necessary.

What does this mean for you?

The proposed increases amount to an additional $229 for the average single-family detached home assessed at $2.98 million and an extra $105 for the average strata property assessed at $1.37 million.

The proposed 4.48% property tax and Asset Levy increase applies only to the municipal portion of the tax bill. The levies for regional and school services are set by the region and the province, and the municipality has no ability to vary them.

Online question form

Thank you to everyone that submitted a question via the online question form.

The online question form was open from Tuesday, January 26 to Tuesday, February 9 at 4 p.m. All public input will be considered by Council as part of the 2021 budget review process.

After the public comment period has ended, you will still be able to provide input to Council until March 8, when Council considers the proposed budget. Please write to Mayor and Council to have your input received for information.

Virtual information meeting

Thank you to everyone who joined a Virtual Budget Information Meeting on Thursday, January 28 or Friday, January 29. Your questions and comments helped others understand and learn more about the proposed 2021 budget.

A video of the staff presentation is available in the sidebar on this project page. Staff will publish the questions that were asked and post the answers to this project page.

January 28, 2021 Budget Virtual Information Meeting - Q&A

January 29, 2021 Budget Virtual Information Meeting - Q&A

All public input will be considered by Council as part of the 2021 budget review process.

Learn more about this year's budget

January 25, 2021, Council Report: Proposed 2021 Operating and Capital Budget

2021 Budget Highlights

What makes West Vancouver so special, budget-wise?

PowerPoint Presentation: Proposed 2021 Operating and Capital Budget

Preliminary Financial Plan 2021 (modified budget book)

2021 BC Assessment Interactive Heat Map

2021 Capital Projects - List & Descriptions

COVID Safe Restart Grant Information

FTE Requests – Detailed Descriptions (Excel)

FTE Requests – Detailed Descriptions (webpage)


District of West Vancouver's 2021 budget


Tuesday, March 9 update

On Monday, March 8, Council approved:

  • a proposed operational tax increase of 1.48%; and
  • an Asset Levy of 2.5%

…for a total increase of 3.98%.

Read the Council Highlights to learn more about the March 8 Council Meeting.

March 8, 2021 Report to Council with Proposed Capital (2.5%) and Operating (1.48%) Increase (Five-Year Financial Plan Bylaw)

Update to the Engagement Summary Report

Update from the Mayor: Budget Edition

Mayor Mary-Ann Booth responds to frequently-ask questions and talks about the proposed 2021 budget in her March 5, 2021 newsletter.

Friday, March 5 update

The District’s 2021 Proposed Budget has been open for public input since January 26, and Council will hear staff’s recommendations this coming Monday, at the March 8th Council Meeting. Based on feedback, staff have recommended reducing the Asset Levy from 3.0$ to 2.5%.




2021 budget Background

Like any business or household, each year the municipality is challenged with increased costs. The cost of providing services must be balanced with a tax increase that the community can afford at any one time. For this reason, only the capital works and operating costs that are considered to be critical to providing services have been taken into consideration for the 2021 budgeting process.

The budget reflects the District’s ongoing commitment to provide high-quality services and programs to the community in a fiscally responsible manner, and supports Council’s Strategic Goals. These are:

  1. Significantly expand the diversity and supply of housing, including housing that is more affordable.
  2. Create vital and vibrant communities.
  3. Protect our natural environment, reduce our impact on it, and adapt to climate change.
  4. Improve mobility and reduce congestion for people and goods.
  5. Deliver municipal services efficiently.
  6. Enhance the social well-being of our community.

In 2020, the budget underwent significant changes through the process of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The originally proposed “business as usual” budget was withdrawn and reviewed in detail to make the necessary changes. A second, modified budget was created that took the pandemic into account.

The 2021 budget reflects the District’s continued response to the pandemic and the ongoing priority to provide high-quality services.

2021 Asset Levy

West Vancouver, like almost every municipality in Canada, has an ageing infrastructure that requires a long-term plan and financial resources to provide repair, maintenance, and replacement. This includes everything from community centres and the Seawalk to park benches, streets, and sidewalks. Over the next 20 years, virtually all of these assets will require capital investment to maintain their performance or to provide for their replacement.

The District’s original budget for 2020 (Budget 1) proposed a 0.50% increase to the Asset Levy. When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, staff revised the proposed plan to reflect the new situation and the Asset Levy was withdrawn. In addition, over $12 million in revenue was lost, and $7 million that previously supported asset investment had to be diverted to support continued public safety maintenance measures and COVID response. In 2021, the Asset Levy is proposed to increase by 3.00%, at a minimum, to replenish the amount needed to keep the assets functioning at the optimal level.

The proposed 3.00% Asset Levy increase is not sufficient to support the average amount required for infrastructure needs and to prevent assets from failure resulting from deferred maintenance. It is anticipated that there will be funds available from prior years’ projects that were completed under budget, and that these funds may be used to cover some of the shortfall. Use of the District’s Endowment Fund is also proposed.

2020 Asset Management Update – On November 16, 2020, Council received an information update on the asset management program, which was established in 2015 to identify the community's public assets, determine their condition, and develop a fund supported by an annual levy for their maintenance. There was a setback in funding asset management in 2020 because it was necessary to re-direct funds for COVID-19 response measures. Many important and worthwhile projects had to be postponed, and there is a need to rebuild this fund. The report included updated lists of poor-condition, low-use assets, and poor-condition, high-use assets that are starting to reach a critical phase and require investment.

2021 Operational Budget

After carefully considering priorities, the proposed budget includes a 1.48% increase to the operating budget, which is below historic rates on inflation and is the minimum required to respond to rising costs and to ensure the services most valued by our residents are continuously maintained and improved where necessary.

What does this mean for you?

The proposed increases amount to an additional $229 for the average single-family detached home assessed at $2.98 million and an extra $105 for the average strata property assessed at $1.37 million.

The proposed 4.48% property tax and Asset Levy increase applies only to the municipal portion of the tax bill. The levies for regional and school services are set by the region and the province, and the municipality has no ability to vary them.

Online question form

Thank you to everyone that submitted a question via the online question form.

The online question form was open from Tuesday, January 26 to Tuesday, February 9 at 4 p.m. All public input will be considered by Council as part of the 2021 budget review process.

After the public comment period has ended, you will still be able to provide input to Council until March 8, when Council considers the proposed budget. Please write to Mayor and Council to have your input received for information.

Virtual information meeting

Thank you to everyone who joined a Virtual Budget Information Meeting on Thursday, January 28 or Friday, January 29. Your questions and comments helped others understand and learn more about the proposed 2021 budget.

A video of the staff presentation is available in the sidebar on this project page. Staff will publish the questions that were asked and post the answers to this project page.

January 28, 2021 Budget Virtual Information Meeting - Q&A

January 29, 2021 Budget Virtual Information Meeting - Q&A

All public input will be considered by Council as part of the 2021 budget review process.

Learn more about this year's budget

January 25, 2021, Council Report: Proposed 2021 Operating and Capital Budget

2021 Budget Highlights

What makes West Vancouver so special, budget-wise?

PowerPoint Presentation: Proposed 2021 Operating and Capital Budget

Preliminary Financial Plan 2021 (modified budget book)

2021 BC Assessment Interactive Heat Map

2021 Capital Projects - List & Descriptions

COVID Safe Restart Grant Information

FTE Requests – Detailed Descriptions (Excel)

FTE Requests – Detailed Descriptions (webpage)

THE ONLINE QUESTION FORM IS NOW CLOSED.

The online question form closed on Tuesday, February 9 at 4 p.m.

All public input will be considered by Council as part of the 2021 budget review process. 

After the public comment period ends on February 9 at 4 p.m., you will still be able to provide input to Council until March 8, when Council considers the proposed budget. 

Please write to Mayor and Council to have your input received for information.



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    I support the 3% levy, but I strongly oppose the general tax increase. The municipality has long had a problem with high staff costs and now you want 13 more positions? Why not encourage more accountability and efficiency? Utility rate increases continue to far exceed inflation; rates are now approximately 3 times what they were 20 years ago. And no, these cost increases are not all Metro's fault. The municipality has chosen to load other expenses into that pot. More transparency on utility costs is long overdue.

    Fran asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your comments. To respond to your concerns relative to utility costs, the District identified the need to incrementally raise utility fees each year to offset major spikes in costs when the time comes for the unavoidable time for replacement. West Vancouver’s utility infrastructure was all built within a decade, the unavoidable end-of-life for these systems will also occur close together. Metro Vancouver’s regional utility services are added to this unavoidable cost, including the North Shore Wastewater Treatment plant currently under construction.

    With respect to the proposed 13 new positions, the municipality is a service organization, and staff deliver those services. Staff are committed to efficiency and accountability.

    When developing the proposed budget, staff essentially conducted a core services review by going through the budget line-by-line. The resulting $750,000 in savings that was identified is reflected in the 2021 operational budget. This commitment to keeping costs down and innovating service delivery resulted in the lowest operational increases since 2014.

    This year, in order to maintain the District’s core services, and accomplish Council’s Strategic Priorities, staff are recommending the addition of 13 new permanent positions. Five of these positions are revenue-neutral, which means they will generate savings or revenues to offset their salaries. 

    We hope this information somewhat addresses your concerns, which will be shared with Council.

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    There was a lengthy response to why you could not provide a calculation of average salary- can you provide then FTE at December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020 and the Total Salaries for 2020. Then I can calculate average very quickly myself. Thank You.

    Politics asked 3 months ago

    The total amount paid toward salaries in a given year is available in that year’s Annual Report. However, there is more than one definition of salary in the labour model, and the previous response was intended to explain why a simple average calculation is not available. Staff would need to isolate the actual salary paid from the labour model, and, as previously explained, would constitute a research project, which we do not have the resources to address.

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    You contest that costs in running DWV have not gone up at 3X the rate of inflation over last five years - please explain how much total costs or expenses in General Fund and Consolidated have gone up in last five years compared to the rate of inflation and refer to numbers provided in your annual report.

    Politics asked 3 months ago

    The District’s operational costs have not gone up three times the cost of inflation.

    The historical rate of inflation is based on reports from International Monetary Fund. Depending on the time period, the average is around 2.35%. The consumer price index, commonly referred to as “inflation” by consumers, was unusually low in 2020 due to Covid. CPI calculation takes into account the cost of typical household items (groceries, residential rent, public transport, etc.). District’s costs represent a completely different subset of expenditures, including infrastructure upkeep & maintenance, staff salaries, fleet maintenance etc.

    Furthermore, the important point is not the total number of expenses. Rather, the point is what is paid for by taxation. The District always pursues alternate sources of revenue, including grants. This request constitutes a research project, which we do not have the resources to address.

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    I had requested three numbers re the seismic upgrades to Municipal Hall . Cost to date, estimated cost to complete and the original budget. In both 2020 and now you provided the first two numbers but not the original budget. Can you please provide the original budget as I assume there must have been one. Do those costs include total completion including interior decoration and furnishings? If not please provide estimate of cost. What are plans to repay the endowment fund the $8 million borrowed for this project? Is the plan to borrow more? In addition can you provide the square footage of the space being renovated and the average cost per square foot? I heard that we have ordered triple glazed windows from Japan? Is this true? Can you provide the number of windows and the total cost of the windows? Did you get a quote for double glazed windows and if so what was quote? If not why not?

    Politics asked 3 months ago

    The information you have requested is not directly relevant to the 2021 proposed budget, and it would take a significant amount of staff time to prepare a response to the questions you have asked. It is a research project, and we do not have the capacity to do it, and so staff are unable to provide the information you have requested. Staff are currently working on a number of initiatives that must take priority.

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    How many staff from our community centres were laid off as a result of Covid, and how many remain laid off?

    3 months ago

    As stated in the Five-Year Financial Plan 2020 document, the Parks, Culture & Community Services (PCCS) Division was affected the most by the reduction in revenues and implemented more cuts than any other District division as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the average staffing compliment for PCCS, including permanent full-time, permanent part-time, temporary and casual staff is approximately 750. To function during COVID in 2020, PCCS had to initially lay off 411 staff. As our facilities have been able to slowly reopen under COVID-19 protocols,  some of these staff have returned and are included in the 2021 proposed budget.  

    The 2021 proposed PCCS budget includes the following staff compliment:

    • Parks Department – Includes the full compliment of 37 full-time staff and also includes 23 seasonal temporary staff who were not hired in 2020 due to budget constraints related to COVID. In the proposed 2021 base budget, staffing levels have been returned to pre-COVID levels. 
    • Cultural Services Department – Includes only 4 of the full-time compliment of 12 staff. 
    • Community Services Department – The full compliment of permanent full-time and permanent part-time staff is 81. With the resumption of services complying with Provincial Health Orders, some staff have been able to return. However, there are 15 permanent staff and 79 temporary staff (e.g. lifeguards) who are not included in the 2021 budget. These staff have been without work with the District for almost a year and many are hopeful to return. In addition, there are many casual staff (e.g. program instructors) who have not been rehired as a result of programs that are unable to run due to Public Health Orders.
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    Hello, can you kindly answer another question about the 2021 budget? The 2019 Statement of Financial Information for the year ended Dec 31/19 shows a Sign Shop position with a total remuneration of $82,657. The 2021 budget looks to add an additional Sign Shop position at $100,900. Could you kindly advise why so much more for the proposed new position?

    3 months ago

    The compensation reported in the Financial Information Act and the budget request for an FTE represent two different things. The Financial Information Report indicates what someone earned in that position in 2019, but does not include “fringe” costs associated with the position. The “fringe” costs include, in addition to benefits, the employer portion of employment insurance, the employer health tax, and the specific equipment allocated to the role (e.g., workstation, telephone, computer, uniform, safety equipment, etc.). The average “fringe” cost for union employees is 26.9%. of the budgeted salary. The amount shown in the 2021 budget includes the salary and also all the fringe costs associated with the position.

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    As a West Van resident, I don't support the tax rate increases for a proposed 2021 Operating Levy increase of 1.48% or for A proposed 2021 Asset Levy increase of 3.00%. I'd like to see less funds allocated toward 'expanding the housing supply' (condo/multi unit developments) goal, and more focus on priorities related to the goals: 'Deliver municipal services efficiently' and 'Enhancing the social well-being of our community'. As we are still in a pandemic, I think it's important to focus on our municipal services that will support residents, rather than adding headcount and resources to add more view-blocking condos and housing developments. Things like redeveloping 'Ambleside town centre' and Horshoebay can wait, they are not a priority. Honestly, these major re-development and multi-unit projects should slow down anyway as they aren't in line with what residents want.

    gleneagles33 asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your comments. Council will review and provide an update on their Strategic Plan and the specific goals and objectives outlined in that plan, in the spring.

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    The WV community is in a deeper financial crisis than previously thought. The present 2021 draft of the budget is not adequate to meet community needs. The following are suggestions to help bring the WV finances into a more stable and sustainable situation: 1. Do not approve the additional 21-22 new staff positions. This is totally wrong. 2. Stop the subsidies such as the 2195 Gordon Avenue that is in the range of $40 to $60 million as a social subsidy. 3. The maintenance of assets must be brought back in line with needs. The previous WV councils for the past 20 years have been blamed for the sad state of WV assets. Can the present council turn this around? 4. Increase the taxes by an additional 1 % to 5.48 % and use the funds for maintenance of assets. 5. Roll back the salaries in WV by 7 1/2 % for 2021 and 2022. In 2023, consider bringing these back. 6. WV needs to do a better job of controlling costs with better project management and accountability. 7. The measurement of reducing greenhouse gases in WV has not been established despite promises. The purchase of electric vehicles needs to be put on hold. There is no electric power in BC for these electric vehicles 8. The present strategic plan leans to the left as a socialistic approach and needs to be revised to reflect reality. 9. Set up a special citizens committee that will assess spending and priorities in WV.(the present finance committee does not have the mandate to carry this out) 10. Acknowledge that WV is in serious financial trouble and take appropriate action with the WV 2021 budget by revising it before approval proceeds.

    fillipoff asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your comments. We understand your concerns and value your opinion. Municipal budgets aim to address multiple priorities, reflecting the objectives of thousands of residents, represented by their elected officials. Most, if not all, budgets cause debates and potential concerns regarding the allocation of limited municipal resources. The 2020 and 2021 budgets are especially difficult, given that current economic environment that you have addressed in your letter. 

    As you know, the 2021 Budget has not been adopted yet and will be further discussed and reviewed by Council. The proposed operation increase of 1.48% is one of the lowest for the Lower Mainland municipalities. The increase of the Asset Levy, also proposed as a part of the 2021 Budget, reflects the concern for the maintenance and development of Capital Assets – an issue that the District of West Vancouver has in common with all Canadian municipalities dealing with the aging infrastructure. Most of these costs are not driven by the population growth (or lack thereof) – they are caused by the fact that many municipal assets are coming close to the end of their useful life and have to be replaced irrespective of the increase/decrease in population.

    To respond to your suggestion to cut salaries, the District of West Vancouver is constrained by the collective agreements in place with several bargaining units. Salaries for each position covered by these agreements are set by the agreement, and cannot be changed. These agreements are standard across the Lower Mainland, and in many cases are contractually tied together through what is called ‘me too’ clauses. 

    The 2021 budget includes 13 new FTEs, not 21. Municipal services are delivered by people, and those people must have specific skill sets. The District of West Vancouver is a very lean organization, too lean, if we are to continue delivering core services and advancing Council’s Strategic Plan. 

    In many of its operations, the municipality is subject to a number of obligations and restrictions that do not apply to private businesses, and the budget reflects those requirements. Every single line item has been challenged and non-labour charges have been reduce by $750,000. All the cost reductions that are available to us under the current Covid response conditions have been made. The resulting operational increase is lower than the historical rate of inflation. Without the new staff, services will need to be cut.

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    I am confirming my support for the tax rate increase of 4.48%. I believe the Financial Management of the District of West Vancouver is thoughtful and thorough taking into accountant the Crises of Covid 19 and Climate as well as the previous years of serious problem solving brought to bare on behalf of West Vancouver.

    Dana M asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your comments. We understand your concerns and value your opinion.

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    Whoops, close to deadline. FWIW, do want the heritage position in Planning replace (rued its loss some years ago). Also, in such dreadful times, pls postpone/defer the $30-$40M art gallery -- we hv three now, though agreed v small.

    WVresident2019 asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your comments. We understand your concerns and value your opinion.