Taxes, utility rates up in Central Saanich

The average single family homeowner can expect to pay $82 or 3.18 per cent more in combined taxes and utility charges this year

Residents of Central Saanich will see an increase in their taxes and utility charges this year.

The average single family home within the municipality can expect to pay $82 or 3.18 per cent more in combined taxes and utility charges this year. Staff were recently given council’s direction to prepare the water and sewer rate bylaws for approval on March 7.

On an overall basis, council looked at three pieces  of their tax profile for the year — property taxes and water and sewer charges.

For the property tax proposal, split into four pieces including municipal, police, debt and library, the average home owner will see a 2.9 per cent increase, which is $52 more a year.

For water rates, there is an increase of 3.3 per cent while sewer rates saw an increase of five per cent.

“Now a lot of what this is about is starting to address infrastructure,” said Director of Financial Services for the District, Paul Murray.

He said staff have been doing a good job at keeping operating costs in check, but like every municipality not only in B.C but across Canada, there’s an infrastructure issue which has been around for a long time. He said municipalities are working hard to try and increase their capital spending in order to ensure local infrastructure is repaired or replaced.

There is also an early debt retirement strategy in place and council had asked about whether they can try to pay off the new Keating Cross Road fire station debt in 10 years rather than 25.

Murray said they’ve incorporated a strategy, which he said will take some discipline, for council looking at trying to put more money away in reserves to be able to pay the debt off earlier.