Saanich council has adopted a five-year financial plan on Monday, which will have the District focusing its funding on efforts toward climate action and community well-being.
The Financial Plan, which spans from 2022 to 2026, was first presented to Council back on March 1 as a draft and has since been refined during a series of budget meetings that followed.
Council discussed and amended the proposed financial plan over the course of the past two months, taking feedback from Saanich residents, which ultimately led to the final approval of the plan on Monday, May 9.
According to the newly approved plan, Saanich will be adding an additional $753,000 to its budget to support community well-being and an additional $223,000 to support climate action and environmental leadership.
Saanich says that the newly allotted funds going towards community well-being will be for funding a Human Resources Manager, People and Programs position to develop human resource strategies to improve service delivery to the community, increased hours for the Volunteer Service Coordinator to provide additional volunteer opportunities in local parks, implementation of the Older Adult Strategy, and funding ongoing Diversity, Equity and Arts Programs.
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As for the funding going towards climate action and environmental leadership, money will be put towards new positions to support the acceleration of the Active Transportation Plan, new positions in Facility Sustainable Energy, Technical Engineering and Drainage Programs to undertake Climate Action Planning, increased funds for tree planting and increased hours for watershed and invasive species management.
“The 2022 Financial Plan enables us to continue investing in and maintaining the everyday services that Saanich residents rely on and enjoy. We listened to residents on their core concerns and this budget provides improvements in the programs and initiatives of the highest importance to the community,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.
Saanich says it will also be putting additional funds towards affordable housing and infrastructure, economic diversification and organizational excellence.
The 2022 Financial Plan establishes an average tax rate increase of 6.67 per cent, which equates to a $199.65 increase for the average existing homeowner in Saanich.
The District notes that the actual increase experienced by property owners will also be impacted by their assessment change from 2021.
More information on the approved five-year financial plan and 2022 budget can be found online here.
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