Upper Lonsdale neighbourhood in North Vancouver (Wikimedia Commons)

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

With the municipal election just over a month away, those in the running are going to need to address the million-dollar problem in civic government: overspending.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, it’s a problem that plagues every major municipality, defined as a city with a population larger than 25,000 residents.

In the business group’s annual municipal spending report, released this week, spending increased an average of 43 per cent in cities between 2006 and 2016. That’s compared to populations growing about 12 per cent.

In dollars, that’s $1,243 per person on average across B.C in 2016, and $1,537 per capita in the province’s 20 major cities.

“Only eight out of 152 municipal governments in B.C. have kept operational spending at or below levels of inflation plus population growth over the 10 year period examined,” the report reads.

Meanwhile, two of B.C.’s largest cities, Vancouver and Victoria, each increased their operating spending per person by 32 per cent and 30 per cent respectively from 2006 to 2016, according to the report data.

In its rank of the 20 large municipalities with the best operating spending per capita growth, Port Coquitlam topped the list.

That’s because the city had relatively low spending of $1,235 per person but controlled spending increases over the decade, at just 7.6 per cent.

Maple Ridge and Kelowna ranked second and third best respectively. Surrey had the lowest per capita spending in 2016 at $1,057.

The Township of Langley ranked as the worst major municipality, CFIB said, due to the large per capita increase between 2006 and 2016, of 50.1 per cent growth. Still, the township’s per-capita expenditures remain below average, so curbing spending could improve that rate, the report suggests.

The CFIB said cities have ample opportunity to diversify revenue sources and cut costs without cutting services – with some municipalities already taking on initiatives.

“Some municipalities have already started doing this by sharing resources, making the most of publicly owned assets, investing in new technologies, and changing inefficient practices,” the business group said. “For example, the City of Victoria was able to reduce paper use through the development of an online parking application.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

In final State of City Address, Hepner looks back at Surrey’s evolution over 30 years

Outgoing mayor announces Director of Housing and pokes fun at her ‘media missteps’

ZYTARUK: Hepner, to her credit, rose to the occasion

She could have used her last address to make political digs, pitches and slights. She did not.

Surrey woman’s ‘tell-all’ book meant to help those struggling with domestic violence

Second book details abusive marriage, how people failed her

Surrey district cop station closed by sewer backup

People seeking criminal records checks and other services can get help at any of the other stations

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Around the BCHL: Nanaimo Clippers acquire defenceman from Langley Rivermen

Around the BCHL is a look at goings on around the BCHL and the junior A world.

B.C. co-op develops tech to help prevent ODs, especially for alone users

Brave Technology has been awarded $200,000 in the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge

Recent jump in U.S. butter imports? All smooth, says Canadian dairy farmers

U.S. farmers recently enjoyed extra access to the Canadian market

Potential replacements for Phoenix pay system to start testing soon: Brison

Testing of prototypes to replace troubled federal pay system will begin within weeks

Nanaimo’s Tilray Inc. briefly the world’s largest cannabis company

The company, only listed in the US, nearly reached $300 in afternoon trading on Wednesday

Woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart released from prison

Smart was 14 years old when she was snatched from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 by street preacher Brian David Mitchell

New York books editor out after backlash over Jian Ghomeshi essay

Ian Buruma, who was appointed as editor of the New York Review of Books in late 2017, no longer works for the publication

B.C. couple plans sustainable, zero-waste life in the Shuswap

Plan includes building a tiny house before the snow flies

Most Read