Saanich looks to cut costs by moving bill payments online

With nearly $97,000 spent annually mailing out tax notices and utility bills, Saanich hopes enabling online payments will help cut costs.

With nearly $97,000 spent annually mailing out tax notices and utility bills, Saanich hopes enabling online payments will help cut costs.

Council on Monday was expected to consider a recommendation from the director of finance asking them to endorse amending the Community Charter to allow for electronic billing.

“To this point we haven’t been able to do that because provincial legislation requires us to mail notices. This is simply asking the province to change legislation to let folks go paperless,” said director of finance Paul Murray.

If supported by Saanich council, the motion would go to the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

“It’s a lot easier to have the system send out an invoice electronically than it is to print them, stuff them into an envelope, put postage on it, and mail it. It’s certainly a greener approach, too,” Murray said.

The municipality currently allows residents to claim the provincial Home Owner Grant online. Approximately 42 per cent of Saanich homeowners take advantage of that online service.

Billing and payments for such things as dog licences and business licences could also be done online, Murray said.

“It’s a little change in legislation, and it probably takes quite a bit of effort (at the provincial government level), but it’s a no-brainer,” he said.

kslavin@saanichnews.com