Town of Sidney’s annual report throws up some interesting numbers. (Don Denton/News Staff)

Sidney annual report advises of $12.5 million capital debt

Sidney painted by million dollar numbers: new business, modest home building, new initiatives

Town of Sidney released its draft annual report for 2018 revealing interesting details that illustrate the current state of Sidney.

The population of 11,672 is up from 11,178 in 2011, with a median age of 59.8. The median household income is $63,840 and 24 per cent of households rent. At the 2018 municipal election, voter turnout was 48 per cent, with 4,692 ballots cast.

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Sidney is bound to maintain an operating surplus and can only incur debt for capital purposes. Over the past year it recorded an annual surplus of $1,510,206, much of which is earmarked for future spending. The Town faced challenges with borrowing for the Community Safety Building (CSB) and has a capital debt of $12.5 million, but finances were largely in line with projections and debt is expected to drop in 2019.

“Due to the borrowing accumulated for the CSB, and the timing of the associated property sale, the Town slipped into a Net Debt position at the end of 2018. Net Debt indicates that we currently have more future obligations than we have financial assets to satisfy those debts, meaning that future revenues are required to offset past commitments,” the report noted.

The report adds that reserve funds are projected to decline and details the $83,989,322 in tangible capital assets the Town possesses. While not a cash reserve to dip into, these assets represent things like past investment in infrastructure, buildings, vehicles and equipment.

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In greater Sidney, there are 757 active business licenses, with 54 new businesses springing up, last year. 111 new housing units were built, with 22 single-family units constructed. The council approved five new bylaws, amended 11 and repealed two. According to the report, they amended 22 policies and didn’t create any new ones.

The average municipal tax levied per average residence was $120 per month, up by $4 from the year before. Total municipal taxes were $11.35 million and total municipal expenditures were $20.5 million.

Sidney’s volunteer fire department also racked up the numbers, clocking 5,609 training hours, over the year, including a large scale disaster simulation.

The Sidney North Saanich RCMP detachment’s 32 officers and nine civilian support staff were kept busy, with 7,000 calls, many requiring extensive investigation.

Successes the report highlights include the new Downtown Employee Parking Lot, the Community Safety Building, Short Term Rental Bylaw, Beach Volleyball court and improvements to specific drainage systems and water mains. In the Environmental Stewardship section, the Town has committed to a 2021 initiative to update the Climate Action Plan. This includes a Green House Gas Emissions strategy and Adaptation planning, such as dealing with expected sea level rise, due to climate change.

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Initiatives in the works include more “affordable housing,” waterfront development and attracting families to balance resident demographics.

To read the full report visit sidney.ca/Assets.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

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