The funding package includes money from a variety of sources, including: marijuana sales tax revenue, the COPS grant funding, proposed Van Mall North annexation tax revenues, a business license surcharge, an increase in the utility tax rate on city-owned utilities, an annual surcharge on multifamily units and an annual square-foot surcharge on retail, commercial and industrial space.
Starting in 2017, the package includes a business license surcharge rate increase of $20 per FTE and a 3.4-percent utility tax increase. Out of the estimated $12.4 million increase phased in by 2020, $2.1 million would come from the marijuana sales tax, $2.3 from the multifamily surcharge and $3.4 million from the utility tax.
The multifamily per-unit fee won’t include housing for low-income tenants and would not affect senior citizens or the disabled, according to the city. The retail, commercial and industrial and multi-family per unit fees won’t increase until 2019. If an alternative funding source is identified before, the council would repeal the multifamily per-unit fees.
The police department currently has 198 sworn officers and 47.5 civilian positions. By 2021, that will increase to 232 sworn officers and 62.5 civilian.
The community group also suggested the city approve a public outreach process to establish long-range service needs for city services.
Vancouver Police Department’s current annual budget is $38.6 million, about 27 percent of the city’s total general fund budget. The city spends an additional $10.4 million on other law-enforcement services, such as jail services. Under the latest plan, an additional $12.4 million would need to be generated annually by the year 2020, according to city information.