Sooke proposes property tax hike of 9.3 per cent

Budget increase due to inflation and new requests

Sooke’s preliminary budget for this year proposes a property tax increase of 9.3 per cent.

When expense increases are added in, the typical home assessed at $866,321 would experience an increase of $131 per year. As a whole, the district provides police, roads, parks, and services to residential properties at an annual cost of approximately $1,533 per property.

A high inflation rate increased cost pressures in almost every expense during this year’s budget creation, the district said in its budget documents.

For 2023, if council supports all department requests, an additional $936,000 of funding is required.

Of the 9.34 per cent increase, 5.19 per cent is due to current staffing or other contract-required increases. The remaining 4.15 per cent result from new departmental requests that staff believe are needed to maintain and enhance current service levels.

A special council meeting will be held on Tuesday (March 21) to discuss further detail on department and capital requests.

These numbers represent the municipal portion of taxes only. They do not include taxes levied by other agencies: School District 62, the Vancouver Island Regional Library, Capital Regional District, Island Health, the Municipal Finance Authority and B.C. Assessment Authority.

Sooke’s draft annual operating budget is at $30 million.

The largest chunks of the draft budget would go to fire rescue, RCMP, roads and underground services, and parks and environmental services.

The draft budget does not include several expenses, including a much-anticipated asset management report, E-Com 911, the official community plan, and agreements for community services.

Sooke is projecting it will receive $16.7 million in revenues this year from property taxes ($10 million), parcel tax ($2.3 million), fees and charges ($2.4 million) and transfers from reserves ($2 million). Other sources of revenue, including government grants, are unconfirmed.

Every year, the district adopts a five-year plan, which includes the coming year. The plan and property tax bylaw must be adopted by May 15. Council is expected to pass the budget bylaw on April 24.

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