‘A very defensible budget’: Saanich homeowners face 7.19% property tax increase

Homeowners in Saanich will see a 7.19 percent increase in property taxes this year as the district tries to meet demand for programs and services while continuing to focus on residents battling inflation.

Council unanimously approved its 2023 budget on Tuesday (April 18), although several councilors acknowledged some residents may find it a little hard to swallow.

“I admit that some people will find this budget difficult to support in the community, but I believe this is the budget Saanich needs as we transition from a purely operational municipality to one that is both operational and strategic and responsive. Municipalities address community issues,” Coun said. Colin Factory.

Plante added that both the current and former councils have undertaken large projects — including the Seniors and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy released last month — that often require significant funding to implement.

“If we’re going to have these fantastic efforts and initiatives, we need to be able to fund them. So it’s been a challenge for the council at times, but I believe it’s the right budget to pursue,” he said.

The $170 million budget includes a $10.78 million increase in spending from last year, which translates to an average tax increase of $229.95 for Saanich homeowners. This includes a $1.8 million increase to the Saanich police budget — a total of $40.6 million — as well as an additional $352,749 for the Greater Victoria Public Library and $2.6 million to the region’s capital budget, for a total of $95 million in 2023.

City Council also approved an administrative fee payment of $387,648 to the Swan Lake Christmas Mountain Nature Preserve, a $690,417 contribution to the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications System, and a request for additional resources for employees to pursue strategic goals $1.7 million.

“When you think about all the conflicts of interest that go into making the budget, you look at the need for all the services and programs to be able to bring that up in a very challenging financial year in terms of what we’re facing in terms of inflation. The environment — I think it’s a very strong budget, and I think it will put Saanich on a solid footing,” said Mayor Dean Murdock, adding that this year’s budget is doing well against the backdrop of inflation. balance.

The City Council has also reduced the budget by about $1.2 million through various initiatives, including changes to how districts fund aggressive transit plans and technology upgrades, as well as leveraging funds normally set aside for vacant positions on the municipal payroll.

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