Residents in Sooke are concerned about the imminent tax hikes to pay for the new sewer system.


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Sooke News Mirror Editorial April 11, 2001

Monday night saw Sookeís mayor and council authorize the district to take its financial plan to the public for input.

And while there was only a handful of the public in attendance to hear the latest news on the districtís $3.2 million budget, letís hope more take the time to show up Wednesday, April 17 for the districtís open house and committee of the whole meeting where councillors will receive formal input on the plan.

The district is currently budgeting a 4.5 per cent tax increase this year, which is lower than the 5.21 per cent figure estimated two weeks ago, but slightly higher than the 3.4 per cent figure projected last year.

[Wrath Comment: The budget document shows 6.5 per cent tax increase for 2001.]

An additional five per cent tax increase is projected each year for the next 12 years.

The increase can be attributed to a number of factors, including additional costs for the Vancouver Island Regional Library and park acquisition.

[Wrath Comment: The tax increases are being attributed to errors by the incorporation study consultant, which was Stantec Consulting, which is the same consultant doing the sewer project costs.]

In dollars and cents terms, homeowners can expect a $20 increase per average $160,000 home.

Whether you agree or disagree with how the district is handling your money, you do have your chance to have a say at regular council and committee of the whole meetings, as well as the upcoming budget financial plan meeting.

Before incorporation a common complaint in Sooke was the difficulty residents had in being able to attend governance meetings on a variety of topics because they were either held at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, or because they were held in downtown Victoria.

Now, residents have council meetings held in Sooke most Monday nights. The meetings are regularly advertised in the News Mirror, as well as on the districtís web site at www.district.sooke.bc.ca.

The District of Sooke has until May 15 to finalize its budget. A special council meeting will be held May 7 to consider the financial plan and tax rate bylaws, with adoption scheduled for May 14.

Decisions made at council meetings have important impacts on the community and shouldnít be made in a vacuum. Make sure you offer your input.

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