Saanich Peninsula municipal governments have finalized – or nearly finalized – their 2018 tax rates and North Saanich is leading the way among the region’s lowest rate increases this year.
District of North Saanich
The proposed District of North Saanich Financial Plan is asking for a 1.36 per cent increase in residential property tax revenues this year — compared with their 2017 rate increase of 1.73 in 2017.
This year’s rate is not the lowest North Saanich has ever recorded. In fact, in 2012 the District had no property tax rate increase – zero. At that time, the council warned residents that the trade off for doing that could be rate increases in future years.
Business owners in North Saanich should be pleased, however, to see the District has not increased their tax bill at all for 2018 – setting a zero rate increase for business class properties.
North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall, in an email to the News Review, said growth in the community represented a 5.11 per cent increase in revenues. That increase was offset by increases planned in infrastructure reserve funding (2.52 per cent) and and jump in North Saanich’s operating budget “due to cost drivers” (3.56 per cent). That left the 1.36 per cent increase in the municipal portion of the residential tax bill.
With all municipalities, the final tax bill people will pay includes requisitions from the school district, regional hospital and regional library functions, transit taxes and more.
At the municipal residential tax rate alone, homes worth $500,000 in North Saanich will pay $719 in 2018.
North Saanich will review and vote on finalizing their financial plan on May 14.
Town of Sidney
Sidney has the next-lowest rate increase on the Peninsula at 2.43 per cent in 2018.
Mayor Steve Price stated in an email that this rate — the municipal portion of people’s tax bill — is the only one they control.
“As always, the reasons for the increase are inflationary cost pressures and the demand/desire to provide more and better services,” Price wrote. “This year, the initial portion of borrowing for the Community Safety Building made up about 37% of our increase.”
For Sidney homes valued at $500,000, total taxes will run their owners $2,530.
District of Central Saanich
Central Saanich will increase their municipal tax rate by 2.97 per cent this year. That represents a jump of $58 for average homes in the District.
In an email, Director of Financial Services Paul Murray wrote that a home valued at $500,000 would pay $1,431.06 in 2018 — or $2,724.69 after all other jurisdictions add their part to the total tax bill. Murray noted that the school tax rate alone has g0ne up 7.5 per cent for average home owners.
Murray noted that Central Saanich’s main areas of increased costs this year are in general operations (0.91 per cent increase) — primarily in fire operations and communications.
The Central Saanich Police Service has seen an increase of 1.07 per cent. Murray stated that’s mainly due to a request by the Police Board to help in the phasing-in of regional police dispatch services.
An additional 0.87 per cent increase comes in infrastructure. Murray said that reflects a focus on reaching sustainable levels of asset replacement over time. Another 0.11 per cent jump comes in the library budget to help maintain current levels of service.