Saanich Council approves 2023 budget
May 9, 2023
For immediate release
Saanich, BC – On Monday, May 8, Saanich Council unanimously adopted the 2023-2027 Financial Plan, as well as the 2023 Tax Rate Bylaw. These bylaws establish the operating and capital plans for all municipal programs, including the tax revenue required to support service delivery.
First presented to Council as a draft in March, the plan was further refined during a series of budget meetings that followed in March and April. During these meetings, highlights of the operating and capital budgets were provided to allow Saanich Council to discuss and amend the budget based on evolving community priorities.
Saanich residents were also given the opportunity to provide feedback through the municipality’s budget education tool, which helped inform Council’s deliberations on the budget.
“We are grateful to Saanich residents who took the time to provide insightful and critical feedback on the 2023-2027 Financial Plan. As a Council, we strive to consider all competing interests involved in forming a budget. Saanich residents expect and enjoy high-quality services and programs, and I believe this budget puts Saanich on a very strong footing moving forward, against a backdrop of the challenges created by inflation and labour shortages,” said Mayor Dean Murdock.
Saanich’s 2023-2027 Financial Plan, also known as the budget, outlines spending for municipal programs, services and infrastructure. The 2023 Financial Plan establishes an average tax rate increase of 7.19 per cent. This equates to a $229.13 increase for the average existing homeowner in Saanich. The actual increase experienced by property owners will also be impacted by their assessment change from 2022.
This year, Council approved additions to the budget that directly impact strategic plan goals, in addition to addressing capacity-related issues within the organization.
In 2023, Council has continued to take strides towards implementing Saanich’s Strategic Plan goals and initiatives. Here are a few examples:
Affordable Housing, Land Use and Infrastructure
- $15,238,000 to continue replacing asbestos cement sewer mains and asbestos cement and cast iron water mains.
- $1,584,000 for Information Technology infrastructure upgrades.
- New positions added: parks shop service person, parks asset management technician, facility technician, building service worker, facilities technical services supervisor (increase hours), and roof maintenance (contract).
Climate Action and Environmental Leadership
- $4,788,000 for park, playground, trail and other park infrastructure replacement.
- A minimum of $18,199,000 of road, sidewalk and bikeways additions and improvements in areas such as Shelbourne Street, Sinclair Road, Gorge Road, and Cadboro Bay.
- New positions added: sustainable specialist, property tax specialist, GIS analyst, natural areas parks worker II.
- $3,798,000 in funding to provide fleet, IT and other capital replacements for protective services.
- $280,000 in funding to hire one additional 24/7 firefighter.
- $150,000 in annual funding for the Active and Safe Route to School Program.
- $1,155,000 in various road improvements to bus stops, signals and street lights.
- New positions added: disability inclusion services programmer (increase hours), recreation therapist & health engagement, and financial assistant (increase hours).
- $933,200 in funding to maintain new assets added in the prior year and to offset inflationary costs to maintain service levels.
- $4,818,000 for operating Business Systems upgrades.
- New positions added: corporategraphic designer (increase hours), printing specialist (increase hours), HR advisor (respectful workplace program investigator), HR advisor (learning & development consultant), records & information management analyst, information security manager, financial administrator (increase hours), payroll clerk I, accounting clerk, parks facilities allocation clerk, HR advisor (DE&I cultural safety associate), senior planning technician – development.
- $77,600 to continue to support the implementation of the Economic Development Section.
- The Saanich budget saw an overall net increase in property tax of 7.19%. This increase came from a variety of investments in everyday services you and your neighbours enjoy, for the repair and replacement of the assets that support delivery of those services and funding to move forward with Strategic Plan goals.
- Saanich’s basic operations include more than 100 services.
- Saanich will mail tax notices and informational materials to all property owners before the end of May 2023.
- Payment of taxes and annual homeowner grant applications are due on or before July 4, 2023.
- Property owners can apply for their home owner grant online or by phone with the Province. Municipalities do not accept or process home owner grants.
Director of Finance