Saanich homeowners will see a 5.76 per cent property tax increase for 2021 – $161 for the average homeowner.
During a meeting on Monday (May 10), council unanimously adopted its 2021 municipal budget, which Mayor Fred Haynes said allows Saanich to continue its service delivery and pursue council priorities outlined in the strategic plan.
He added that nearly a third of the 5.76 per cent increase came out of council’s decision to accelerate the Climate Action Plan to go beyond the annual targets by allocating an additional $2.6 million to the initiative. The funds will accelerate the Active Transportation Plan and ensure key environmental projects go forward – including increasing tree planting and adding more sidewalks and bike lanes.
Council also agreed to allocate $515,000 to hire several new staff members to work on improving the municipality’s organization and service delivery. Another $282,000 will go to affordable housing, critical capital infrastructure projects and asset management.
For community well-being initiatives – including hiring a new staff development officer to assist with firefighter training and a refuse collector to manage the overflowing garbages in popular parks – council agreed to allot $130,000.
The municipality also plans to use its remaining COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant funds. The province provided Saanich with $7.45 million last fall and the district used $3.4 million of it in 2020. Saanich expects to use $3.5 million in 2021 and the remaining funds in 2022.
Tax notices will be mailed outs by the end of May and payments are due by July 2. A five per cent penalty will be applied for payments made after that date and another five per cent for payments made after Sept. 1.
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