(Saanich Municipal Hall / District of Saanich Facebook)

Homeowners in the District of Saanich should expect a higher tax increase than usual this year, according to the municipalities recently released 2019 budget.

Saanich’s 2019 Tax Rate Bylaw has established an average tax rate increase of 5.2% for 2019, or roughly $135 in taxes for the average homeowner in Saanich.

The increased taxes are going towards maintaining and improving current services, and to cover BC’s new Employer Health Tax.

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“Through our recent citizen and business surveys, we heard the majority of Saanich residents want us to maintain and where possible enhance the same level of services with managed tax increases,” said Mayor Fred Haynes in a release.

“This input as well as residents’ ability to pay was top of mind for Council throughout our budget deliberations. Our 2019 budget balances these factors while continuing to deliver more than 100 services to our residents.”

A full break down of how the 5.2% tax increase will be distributed is as follows:

  • Municipal labour – 1.32%
  • Capital infrastructure – 1.21%
  • Police department – 0.99%
  • Service improvement resources – 0.74%
  • Library services – 0.14%
  • BC Employer Health Tax – 1.5%
  • Non-discretionary (includes utilities, insurance, fuel, contacts, and costs outside of Saanich’s control) – 1.2%

While these costs combined equal a 7.1% total, 1.19% of the costs are covered from Saanich revenue and a further 0.71% are accounted for from property tax growth.

Highest property tax increase in the past 10 years

Saanich’s property tax increase of 5.2% is the largest the municipality has seen in the past decade.

From 2010 to 2018, the taxes increased at an average rate of 3.34%. The largest increase in this time period was in 2015, when taxes rose by 4.34%

(Image / District of Saanich)

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Moving forward, Saanich is planning 6 large infrastructure projects and 7 major utility repairs and upgrades.

The municipality also plans to focus on affordable housing, which was the highest reported concern in Saanich’s 2019 citizen and business surveys.

While affordable housing concerned more than 1-in-5 respondents, Saanich residents generally have a high opinion of their municipality.

90% of respondents believed that the district is doing a “good job in general”, and 81% of Saanich residents strongly or somewhat agree that “they receive good value for tax dollars”. In total, 1022 Saanich Residents over the age of 18 were surveyed.

Saanich’s 2019 citizen and business surveys can be found online here, and the 2019 budget at a glance can be found here.