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News Release
Vancouver City Council approves 2021-2022 city budget - 11/17/20

Vancouver, Washington—The Vancouver City Council approved the City’s 2021-2022 budget at their Nov. 16 meeting. The $1.3 billion two-year budget is balanced, closing a $4 million annual gap resulting from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes presented his recommended 2021-2022 budget to City Council on Oct. 1, 2020. A series of five City Council workshops followed in October and early November, providing highlights of the operating and capital budgets and enabling city Council to discuss and amend the budget based on evolving opportunities and community priorities.

“The adopted 2021-22 budget continues to fund all core city services at existing levels, and includes increases in the programs of the highest importance to our community,” said Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle. “This budget reflects our focus as a city, which is to assure a firm foundation, implement current initiatives, advance key strategic projects and programs, and plan for A Stronger Vancouver into the future.”

Changes made by City Council to Holmes’ original recommended budget include dedicating $1.5 million per year to support the outcomes of the work of the Community Task Force on Policing.

A recent Washington State Supreme Court decision regarding Initiative 976 also restored $4.8 million annually in vehicle license fees to the City’s Transportation Benefit District. Vancouver City Council supported dedicating these to transportation funding for new safety and multimodal projects and capital projects of high importance, while also funding the proposed Pavement Management Program for proactive maintenance of existing roadways.

“While it was created during an unprecedented time for our city, including a global pandemic and civil and racial justice unrest, this budget is consistent with direction set by the City Council and reflects the Vancouver community vision, the City’s strategic plan, the adopted financial policies, and input from City employees, boards and commissions, and the community,” said Holmes.

Other highlights from the final approved 2021-2022 budget include:

  • Reduced costs by freezing 20 existing positions, most of them vacant, for two years. Almost every City department will be impacted.
  • Addition of two positions in the City Manager’s Office: a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to champion and coordinate internal and external efforts to promote social equity and justice causes, and a new Assistant City Manager position to augment strategic city management resources, improve organizational resilience, and focus on succession planning.
  • Continued funding for the city’s efforts to respond to homelessness, including a cross-departmental team to work with the homeless population, and funding for mental health services and clean-up efforts.
  • Maintaining police and fire department staffing to ensure continued community safety, including 13 new positions that were added during the 2019-2020 biennium to staff the new Fire Station 11.
  • Continued expansion of affordable housing in Vancouver with the introduction of a new funding source, Sales Tax for Affordable Housing, which will build additional housing units and provide critical services for some of the most disadvantaged members of our community.
  • Investments in city streets, including new safety and multimodal street projects, and funding the Pavement Management Program for maintenance of existing streets.
  • Advancement of key strategic projects that will play a transformative role in Vancouver’s evolution, including developing a Waterfront Gateway Master Redevelopment Plan, continued implementation of The Heights District Plan, updating the City’s Transportation System Plan, and building several Complete Streets projects.
  • Building on the A Stronger Vancouver initiative, which is aimed at establishing a long-term strategy for stable, sustainable and resilient funding approach that assures Vancouver can grow to become a safer, welcoming, vibrant and prosperous city.

Access to the 2021-2022 recommended budget document is available at www.cityofvancouver.us/budget. The final approved budget document will be available on the city’s website near the end of 2020.

A new online interactive budget dashboard is also accessible on the budget web page. This dashboard enables anyone to explore the City’s operating and capital budgets, which can be filtered by fund, department or category. There is also a map displaying the location of all capital projects.

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