Central Saanich council is set to adopt its 2021 budget. Average home owners in Central Saanich will see their property taxes rise by 2.97 per cent — or $62 — if approved. (Black Press Media File)

Central Saanich council is set to adopt its 2021 budget. Average home owners in Central Saanich will see their property taxes rise by 2.97 per cent — or $62 — if approved. (Black Press Media File)

Central Saanich set to adopt 2021 budget with 2.97 per cent tax increase

Staff say the 2021 budget represents ‘a status quo approach’ in terms of services

The average homeowner in Central Saanich will see property taxes rise by 2.97 per cent — or $62 — as council prepares to adopt its 2021 municipal budget.

The figure – which was also the starting point for budget talks in February – appears in a report before council. The report also outlines several additions to the document with funding coming from a combination of reserves and funds from the federal-provincial COVID-19 restart grant worth $3.455 million.

Key revisions include the addition of an economic recovery project that will cost $60,000 in 2021, $100,000 in 2022 and $40,000 in 2023 for a total budget of $200,000 to be funded from the COVID-19 restart grant without any impact on taxes.

Council also added another $50,000 to the original budget of $275,000 for renovations and technologies upgrades to council chambers with an eye toward improving public accessibility with funding coming from the restart.

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The municipality also plans to use the restart grant to cover a one per cent tax reduction in 2020 ($176,800), technology improvement ($70,000), additional funding for grants ($50,000) and the replenishing of reserves for future infrastructure replacement.

Staff said the 2021 budget represents “a status quo approach” for the continuation of services expected by the community. Exceptions include the addition of a climate action specialist and additional funding for the fire department.

Staff note the budget aggressively pursues council priorities such as the active transportation plan, the refresh of the Official Community Plan, energy retrofits, Saanichton Village improvements, facility redevelopment and a two-year economic development initiative.

Staff plan to bring forward the necessary bylaws at the April 12 council meeting assuming council’s approval of the budget.

Central Saanich residents will also pay for more water and sewer. Average residential property owners will pay $591 (up $11 over 2020) for water and $389 (up $19) for sewer.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com