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Sooke taxpayers brace for 3.3 per cent tax hike

Council set to adopt 2021 municipal budget

Sooke council is set to adopt a $29.7-million municipal budget on Monday.

Homeowners will see a modest 3.3 per cent increase in their property taxes this year.

For a Sooke homeowner with an average property value of $538,992, taxes will increase by $60, or $5 a month.

READ: Home values surge across Greater Victoria

There are no changes to the sewer parcel tax, and the district is waiting for requisitions from third parties that it collects for including B.C. Transit and the Capital Regional District.

More than half of the municipal budget expenses are dedicated to police and fire services.

Along with general government expenses and capital projects, other budget hikes are additional staffing and union contract increases for CUPE, service agreements and highway maintenance. Some one-time reductions made in 2020 were brought back for 2021, including the community grant program, Canada Day celebrations and the Sooke Santa Parade.

This year, the district received $2.9-million from a provincial program aimed at COVID-19 relief, which sliced the proposed tax increase in half.

Despite taxpayers having to pay more in taxes this year, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said she’s happy with the budget.

“Overall, it’s a good budget because of everything that’s going on these days,” she said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tait said she would have liked more public input by hosting a community town hall meeting on the budget, but that wasn’t possible. Still, several online events were offered for general information by district staff.

“We’ve done the best that we could,” she said.

Last year, council passed a zero per cent increase, and in the previous nine years, the average tax hike is 2.16 percent.

The province mandates municipalities pass their financial plan by May 15 each year.

ALSO READ: Pandemic uncertainty looms over Sooke municipal budget



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