Saanich’s 2019 budget is up nearly $26 million from last year thanks to additional revenue from reserves, user fees and taxation.
The tax revenue comes from a 5.2 per cent increase to average property taxes for Saanich homeowners, according to the district’s newly passed 2019 Tax Rate Bylaw.
Based on an average homeowner with a property assessment of $924,100, the increase is composed of a 3.7 per cent jump for municipal services and 1.5 per cent to cover the provincial Employer Health Tax.
In total, 2.35 per cent of the tax increase supports municipal and police operations and services, 1.21 per cent covers capital infrastructure replacement and 0.14 per cent is designated for the Greater Victoria Public Library.
Saanich council says the increases amount to a $135 yearly increase for the average homeowner in the district – with average taxes and fees sitting at $3,907.
In a statement, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said recent citizen and business surveys informed the approved tax rate.
“We heard the majority of Saanich residents want us to maintain and where possible enhance the same level of services with managed tax increases,” Haynes said. “This input as well as residents’ ability to pay was top of mind for Council throughout our budget deliberations. Our 2019 budget balances these factors while continuing to deliver more than 100 services to our residents.”
According to the District, 78 per cent of the survey respondents said they are “pleased with the overall direction Saanich is taking” and 81 per cent of residents agreed “they receive good value for tax dollars.”
In total, the District’s 2019 total budget is up $25,862,400 from 2018.
Tax notices and informational materials will be distributed to property owners before the end of May.
The new tax rate was approved at a regular meeting Monday night, where council also passed the district’s five-year financial plan. The five-year plan puts property tax increases for operations at an average of 3.03 per cent starting in 2020 and running through 2023.