UBC-UNA Neighbourhoods Liaison Committee Meeting eBrief
November 5, 2018
The UBC-UNA Neighbourhoods Liaison Committee was formalized in April 2018 as part of the evolving partnership between UBC and the UNA and in recognition of the role of the UNA as an advisory body to the UBC Board of Governors. The Liaison Committee is co-chaired by the UNA Board Chair and Chair of the Property Committee of the UBC Board of Governors. The voting members of the Committee includes its co-chairs; the chairs of the Finance and Governance Committee of the UBC Board of Governors; a UNA Board Director; and a UNA member at large. Non-voting members include UBC’s VP External Relations, AVP Campus and Community Planning, and the Executive Director of the UNA. The purpose of this committee is to discuss perspectives on issues of shared interest as an opportunity to work together and address areas of concern. The following provides a summary of key outcomes from the November 5th UBC-UNA Neighbourhoods Liaison Committee meeting. A number of issues were discussed including the UNA’s financial framework; emerging strategic priorities; evolving governance; and communications of this committee moving forward.
UNA Financial Framework
The Committee discussed the current UNA financial status and received an update on the 2018 Services Levy revenue, which has increased for the first time in seven years due to a stabilization in Vancouver property tax rates. The UNA also discussed their five year budget projection, which forecasts financial stabilization beginning this year and reaching a balanced budget by 2021/2022. The Committee acknowledged the continuation of the UBC Community Services Grant to manage deficits from now until a balanced budget can be achieved. Staff will share the financial model and assumptions with the Liaison Committee, including sensitivity to Vancouver property value and tax rate changes, and will continue to monitor factors affecting the UNA budget in future years.
As part of this discussion, the UNA updated the Committee on work underway to benchmark community services and related costs that will help inform budget planning in future years. The results of this will be shared with the Liaison Committee for information once they are available.
The Committee also discussed the need to work together on a review of the UNA Reserves Policy to ensure long term financial sustainability. This work will be done in partnership with UBC and will be scoped with UNA Board input over the coming months, and brought back to the Liaison Committee for input.
A report back was provided to the Committee on discussions to date with the Province of BC with respect to the neighbourhood tax framework, including allocation of the general rural tax. Reference was made to the letter sent from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in 2017 that clarified the provincial stance of maintaining the current tax regime for the area. UBC will continue provincial engagement on this question into 2019.
UNA Strategic Priorities
The UNA shared the emerging strategic priorities identified by the UNA Board through their strategic planning process and a brief summary of goals under each priority that will inform the staff and Board’s work over the coming three years. The priorities include: UNA governance; financial sustainability; operational capacity; and community and stakeholder relations. As progress is made, updates will be brought back to the Liaison Committee under each priority area.
The UNA updated the Committee on the Strategic Plan goal of governance. This includes an exploration of opportunities to evolve governance in a way that meets the needs of a growing community. Specific items discussed in detail included ways to expand UNA membership, as well as the UNA’s bylaw updates, which may include a review of UNA Board composition and voting rights of directors. UBC committed to working in partnership with the UNA to explore this further and a report will be brought back to the next Liaison Committee meeting pending conclusion of a UNA bylaw review process.
The Committee discussed the value of reporting back to the broader community on key outcomes of the Committee discussions and will be using this template moving forward to share information.
The next meeting of the Committee is targeted to take place in spring 2019.