2025-26 Biennial Budget Process

How the City Develops the Budget

Vancouver’s budget is developed biennially. The budget process assigns resources to the goals, objectives, and community priorities set by the City Council. New programs are added based on Council service and program priorities. Under the City Charter, the City Manager prepares and recommends an operating budget and a capital improvement program budget for consideration and adoption by the City Council.

2025-26 Budget

While the City maintains a secure financial status, the compounding impacts of significant inflation across all spending categories (particularly labor costs), a softening of our revenues due to slowing growth, and the incremental costs of added programs in recent years are contributing to a deficit between what it costs to provide services and what we have to provide them. As a result, there is a gap of $43 million that needs to be closed over the biennium.

During their May 6 Council Workshop, the Council asked staff to explore a combination of potential revenue increases, service reprioritization, and expenditure reductions to close the gap.  The Council asked for more information about cable utility tax, video streaming excise tax, commercial parking, admissions taxes, and tapping into the banked property tax capacity to cover the projects included in Proposition 2. The Council will also consider asking the Transportation Benefit District Board to adopt an additional $10 per vehicle license fee and potentially realign the revenue from the business license surcharge. Optimizing fee-for-service revenue will also be part of the solution. Staff will report back on potential revenues at the June 10 Council Workshop.  

Public Involvement

Since the passage of the last budget, residents and businesses have given considerable input on what they value through advisory committees, surveys, the 2023-2029 Strategic Plan, Community Vision, and the continued development of the Comprehensive Plan. Over the summer, the public will have opportunities to share their thoughts with the City through our biannual budget survey, online prioritization exercise, and City Council meetings that specifically have the budget as part of the regular agenda. The survey and prioritization exercise results will be published when they are available.

Budget Schedule

The City’s biennial budget is reviewed by City Council in a series of public workshops and a public hearing. The schedule is as follows: