North Saanich plans to increase revenue from property taxes by 3.95 per cent, according to the draft budget now awaiting deliberations starting Feb. 24 at 9 a.m.
Residents also face an increase in the basic water rate (up 4.4 per cent) and an increase (up 6.4 per cent) in the annual sewer rate. The draft plan also includes an increase to the water infrastructure replacement parcel tax of $50.
According to the municipality, the draft budget continues the strategy of looking for efficiencies and cost savings in operations, while prioritizing investment in infrastructure replacement.
“Where possible the (municipality) will endeavour to supplement revenues from user fees and charges, rather than taxation, to lessen the burden on its limited property tax base,” it reads.
The budget includes $11 million in capital projects, including money for parks, stormwater upgrades, sidewalk and road improvements and bike lanes among other projects. The budget dedicates another $1.8 million for various operating projects including the Official Community Plan.
North Saanich released its draft budget after soliciting input from residents through an online and paper survey that drew 177 responses.
According to the survey, many responses reflected the desire of residents to “keep taxes low and offer minimal services, in keeping with its rural character.” Within this context, 67 per cent of respondents felt that the 2021 residential property tax rate of 2.81 per cent was appropriate.
“Other common themes included concern about tax dollars spent on district projects, including expenses for public engagement and consultancy fees,” it reads. “A number of respondents noted the recent impacts of climate change, and that this would likely create new pressures on infrastructure.”
Following the budget meeting on Feb. 24, councillors will meet again on March 10.
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