Sidney budget prepares to tackle incoming big retailers

Tax increase of 2.81% for Sidney residents lower than last year’s increase

Sidney put some money aside in its budget to address the “risk-slash-opportunity” presenting itself as larger retailers approach Central Saanich.

“One thing council did was put an additional $60,000 into an economic development fund,” said Mayor Larry Cross. “We want to see our business community come together. … We want to develop a plan for energetic promoting of our town.”

The funds aren’t specifically earmarked for any promoting program. “One of the difficulties is that a lot of enthusiasm goes out and then a wall is hit: ‘We don’t have any money,’” Cross said. “We thought if we could do this, it could be very helpful get our town moving.”

Businesses in Sidney have been working together on a marketing plan to help promote Sidney as a shopping and eating destination. The plan is a response to possible big box stores being established in Central Saanich in the near future.

Part of that plan could include setting up a Sidney business improvement association, which would require municipal approval and a budget line before it could be established.

At a Feb. 27 meeting of business owners, Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce executive director Doug Taylor said, “We’re going to move forward with potential BIA ideas.”

It also stems from Cross’ statements at the Feb. 20 Mayors’ Breakfast, hosted by the Chamber. With three business groups currently working to promote the community, the town needs to “combine the energies,” he said, to develop a “formidable marketing team.”

The funds came during budget discussions last week, when the town approved its 2012-16 financial plan, including a 2.81 per cent tax increase for this year. Last year’s increase was 2.96 per cent.

“I think the budget is a cheerful and appropriate balance, keeping the tax increase low and ensuring the services of the town and the long-term infrastructures are maintained,” Cross said.

For a Sidney home valued at $500,000 – the average for a single family dwelling – it means $32 more per year. Parcel taxes and user fees were reduced by a total of $5 bringing the net impact to $27 per year.

“I am quite pleased with the results of Sidney council’s budget approval process,” Cross said. “Council and town staff worked hard to develop a lean yet responsible budget, and I’m confident that our citizens will receive excellent value for their tax dollars.”

 

By the numbers

• 2012 increase: 2.81%

• 2011 increase: 2.96%

• Effect on your property tax bill: $32 on house assessed at $500,000