Saanich Council passed a five-year financial plan on Monday, which will see the district focus its funding on climate action and community wellness efforts.
The financial plan, which runs from 2022 to 2026, was first presented to Council on March 1 in draft form and has since been refined in a series of budget meetings that followed.
The board discussed and modified the proposed financial plan over the past two months, taking into account feedback from Saanich residents, which ultimately led to final approval of the plan on Monday, May 9.
Under the newly approved plan, Saanich will add an additional $753,000 to its budget to support community wellness and an additional $223,000 to support climate action and environmental leadership.
Saanich says the newly allocated community wellness funds will be used to fund a human resources, people and program manager position to develop human resource strategies to improve service delivery to the community, overtime for the Volunteer Services Coordinator to provide additional volunteer opportunities at local parks, implementing the Seniors Strategy and funding ongoing diversity, equity and arts programs.
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In terms of funding for climate action and environmental leadership, money will be invested in new positions to support the acceleration of the active transportation plan, new positions in sustainable energy programs, d technical engineering and drainage facilities to undertake climate action planning, increased funds for tree planting and increased hours spent on watershed and invasive species management.
“The 2022 financial plan allows us to continue to invest in and maintain the day-to-day services Saanich residents rely on and enjoy. We have listened to residents on their top concerns and this budget makes improvements to programs and initiatives that are most important to the community,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.
Saanich says it will also dedicate additional funds to affordable housing and infrastructure, economic diversification and organizational excellence.
The 2022 financial plan sets an average tax rate increase of 6.67%, which equates to a $199.65 increase for the average current homeowner in Saanich.
The District notes that the actual increase experienced by homeowners will also be impacted by their change in assessment from 2021.
Further information on the approved five-year financial plan and 2022 budget is available online here.
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