Money matters. But judging by the public turnout at the latest round of municipal budgeting, you wouldn’t know it.
Instead, it appears Saanich residents are rather content with their municipal services and are willing to accept annual incremental tax hikes that go beyond the regional norm. As long as the garbage is picked up on time and residential development permits are issued when requested, most people tend not to care about the bean-counting at municipal hall.
Part of that contentment can rightly be attributed to Saanich staff – from directors right down to front-line workers, police and fire – who show they’re a competent and hard-working team throughout the year. And to be fair, Saanich has its own set of challenges that make direct comparision to other Capital Region municipalities difficult. Development was slow last year, for one. Increasingly, however, municipalities are taking ownership to stimulate their local economies through innovative programs and partnerships.
Close to home, City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps has been doing the rounds to promote better local collaboration on economic concerns in what she’s dubbed “Metro Victoria.” That work should be supported by Saanich councillors like Fred Haynes, who plan to dig into better ways of supporting existing and attracting new business to the District.
Lawyer-poet John Godfrey Saxe summed up the appeal of the legislative process, when in 1869 he told the The Daily Cleveland Herald: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.” But local budgets, despite their sometimes numbing details, are still worth a hard look. After all, it’s your money.