Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne

Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne

Zero per cent tax increase for Sooke

District of Sooke announces a zero per cent residential property tax increase

A zero per cent tax increase is sure to have the residents of Sooke smiling. A  one per cent tax decrease should have business property owners smiling as well.

The Finance and Administration Committee (FAC) has been working hard since the election to bring costs in line to ensure that residents will not pay more property and business property taxes in 2012.

Councillor Rick Kasper, chair of the FAC, said there are a number of initiatives the district will be

carrying out to ensure they continue to have a handle on the budget.

“We will look at other cost saving measures throughout the year,”said Kasper. “And we will be establishing a new reporting process for helping keep track of budgets.”

Kasper said they will start the next budget in October as soon as the third quarter is identified.

“We want to see how we can have a better way of doing business. Some things we do are totally unnecessary and the public wouldn’t even know.”

He cited the example of the referrals sent out by the planning department that have no purpose and take time adding delays to the system.

Council will also be reviewing current policies in regard to personal use of district vehicles, as a cost saving measure.

“Are we in fact getting good value for the dollar in the things which have traditionally been done,” Kasper asked. He mentioned the $188,000 highway contract which was never monitored, as well as contracting out for services which could as easily be done by the qualified staff at the district.

The draft Financial Plan and Property Tax Rate Bylaw will be presented at the Sooke booth on May 5, 2012 at the Rotary Auction and Spring Fair taking place at SEAPARC.

The 2012-2016 Financial Plan and Tax Rate Bylaw will come before a special council meeting on Monday, May 7, for first, second and third reading.

Mayor Wendal Milne said he is “really happy” with the financial plan and zero per cent tax increase as that was what he promised during the election.

“When we started I didn’t think we would succeed,” he said.

Milne said in 2012 they would be moving forward with expanding sidewalks in some areas and the proposed roundabout. Work on the alternate route on Throup Road will have to wait.

“As we move forward I have no illusions of further zero per cent increases down the line,” said the mayor.

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