Saanich is moving forward with approving a property tax rate increase of 2.4 per cent for homeowners in the municipality.

Several municipalities in the CRD — Victoria, Colwood, and Sidney — have eliminated their annual property tax hike altogether in an effort to alleviate financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

See also: B.C. will reduce commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%

At their meeting on April 27th, Saanich council approved their 2020 Tax Rate Bylaw that reduces the previously approved tax increase from 3.74 per cent down to 2.4 per cent.

The initial budget proposal offered an even higher tax increase of 7.2 per cent which was brought down to 3.74 per cent on March 31st.

“Our intention with this year’s budget is to provide as much relief as possible to all of our residents who are feeling the financial impacts of COVID-19 while continuing our existing service levels,” said Mayor Fred Haynes in a statement.

“The limited increase balances the need for relief without having to reduce the essential services that our residents depend on and enjoy.”

According to the municipality, this rate increase amounts to $65 for the average homeowner in Saanich.

2.85 per cent of the amount collected through the tax increase will go towards supporting current levels of municipal and police operations and 0.11 per cent will be allocated to the Greater Victoria Public Library.

Tax notices and information will be mailed to all property owners in Saanich by the end May with payments due on or before July 2.

The municipality will be announcing changes to late penalties and how and where property taxes can be paid in the coming days.