Today I am announcing my candidacy for re-election to my seat on the Vancouver City Council. When I was first elected in 2010, the national, regional and local economies were still suffering from the Great Recession. During that time, the City Council was confronted with hard choices about how to stretch shrinking income to cover increasing expenses. It was fundamentally clear to me that: (1) every city expense, no matter how large or small, should be reconsidered every budget cycle, and; (2) the budget shortfall should be overcome by cutting non essential services. Simply, we need to protect the public safety and fundamental services of the City: Police, Fire, Transportation and Utility Services. This required asking the hard questions about continuing to fund budget items that were not within those essential services. You might remember the closure of Fire Station 6. I fought to find ways to keep this essential fire station funded and operating, and to maintain emergency response times that should be a reasonable expectation of the Vancouver citizens that pay for them with their tax dollars. Today, I am happy to report that not only did Fire Station 6 remain open, but the City’s financial condition here in 2015 is on a sound footing and providing the essential fundamental services to our citizens at rates and costs equal to or lower than other cities of our size in the Pacific Northwest.
Looking ahead, we must be careful how we plan for our public safety assets to continue meeting the changing needs of our community. Currently the City is building two new fire stations to more strategically serve our citizens, and it pleases me greatly knowing that the City’s finances are now in a position to maintain our current public safety staffing without Federal Grants. This was not accomplished without the collaboration of those of us on the City Council that prioritize public safety and cost effective delivery of utility services to our citizens.
In Vancouver today, employment opportunities are increasing and the trajectory of the local economy is again headed in an upward direction. There are many additional positive signs of growth. The Columbia Waterfront project is breaking ground representing an unprecedented investment in Downtown Vancouver. In many respects, this project, along with other recently announced downtown construction projects, will complete the revitalization of the Vancouver City Center.
At the same time, positive signs of growth are occurring in other Vancouver neighborhoods as well. New development along the 192nd Avenue corridor is an example of this, along with Banfield Pet Hospital’s selection of an East Vancouver location for their national headquarters. Other neighborhoods in Vancouver are being revitalized by redevelopment projects along the Mill Plain, Fourth Plain, St James/St Johns corridors. New single family and multi family housing construction is also on the upswing. Additionally, our Vancouver Housing Authority is continuing to add affordable housing units to the city’s inventory.
There are bright spots reflecting positive economic signs in all areas of the city. In my view, it is very important that our city leaders seek to improve all areas of the city, and on an equal basis. Essentially, for Vancouver to continue to be a viable place to live and work, we must responsibly work together to improve our community. Simply, we all have an equal share in the community, regardless of where we live in Vancouver. That is why my objective is “ONE COMMUNITY, SAFE AND PROSPEROUS”. This is my pledge to all the citizens of Vancouver.
As your City Council member, I have served on many boards that focus on specific areas of needs for the members of our community. These include the Children’s Justice Center, Elder Justice Center, and the Safe Communities Task Force. I am pleased to say that my efforts in these areas have earned the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters #152 and the Vancouver Police Guild’s for my re-election, as appearing below:
“The professional Firefighter’s of the City of Vancouver, IAFF Local 452, proudly support city council member Bart Hansen for his steadfast commitment to public safety. Councilman Hansen has shown through words and actions his true character by supporting critical core services and programs to ensure the safety of Vancouver’s families, protecting our homes and businesses , and building a vibrant community. Councilman Hansen stands for the best interest of Vancouver and its citizens. It is for these reasons that the Vancouver Firefighter’s Union will continue to proudly support city council member Bart Hansen.”
– Mark Johnston, President IAFF Local 152
“The Vancouver Police Officers Guild is proud to endorse Vancouver City councilor Bart Hansen in his reelection bid. The members of the VPOG support Mr. Hansen because of his commitment to public safety in Vancouver. Councilor Hansen has maintained steadfast support for public safety measures, programs and personnel during his time on the City Council and we look forward to working with him in the years to come.”
– Jeff Kipp, President VPOG