Sooke eyes more budget cuts due to COVID-19 pandemic

District staff suggests a zero percent property tax increase

If suggested changes to Sooke’s 2020 budget go ahead, property owners could be paying less in property taxes than they did last year.

In January, district council was considering a 4.01 per cent tax increase for 2020.

Now, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, district staff is suggesting a zero percent property tax increase.

READ MORE: Sooke council OK’s 2020 budget with 4 percent tax increase

Yet, factoring the announcements from the province earlier this month about reducing school taxes for commercial property owners and support for local governments with revenue shortfalls, the tax increase would dip below last year’s number.

Residential property owners were expected to see a property tax increase of 4.01 per cent this year. If unchanged, this would result in an $80 annual increase in municipal taxes for residential properties.

“I do appreciate what staff has done, they’ve gone back and made some pretty heavy cuts. It really sends a wonderful message to the community, if we get the taxes down to zero,” Coun. Al Beddows said.

Mayor Maja Tait added district council is committed to bring the tax number down as low as possible and said it’s no small achievement that municipal staff has already been able to lower it to the new suggested number.

“I’m still concerned, though, on our residents’ ability to pay, but that’s an unknown question,” Tait said.

District staff identified potential savings in this year’s budget in a report to council this week. Those savings amounted to more than $400,000, which would see the “tax increase” dip below zero per cent. To reduce the budget to zero per cent, the district needs to cut $320,000.

RELATED: B.C.’s COVID-19 economic plan next week, John Horgan says

In conducting the reviews, staff considered the pros and cons of each option with a lens to ensuring that the district has the resources available to provide the services the community needs.

Council has already eliminated its $65,000 community grant program for this year and won’t spend $30,000 on the Canada Day celebration after the 2020 event was cancelled. Other cuts include $50,000 from the chief administrative officer’s budget designated for the official community plan, $28,000 from the fire department, and several capital projects amounting to thousands of dollars.

Staff pointed out that while cuts in the capital projects will result in savings in 2020, the projects still need to be completed in a future year.

Further changes to the budget will head to district council on May 11.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

budgetCoronavirusSooke council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria’s first BC Cannabis Store could open at Saanich shopping centre

Store application for Uptown Shopping Centre headed for public hearing

Bike lane closed, traffic impacted by landscaping in Metchosin

Construction begins May 25, to be complete by mid-July

MISSING: Victoria police on the lookout for woman last seen April 28

Leah Parker, 41, is described five-foot-five and about 140 pounds with brown/blonde hair, blue eyes

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of Nanaimo’s Lisa Marie Young

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Most Read