What is the COVID Restart Grant local governments received?

    In late 2020, local governments received grant funding from the province to assist with COVID recovery. This funding is to enable local governments to deal with increased operating costs and lower revenue due to COVID‐19. It is not for funding special projects and cannot be used to to reduce 2021 taxes (or keep taxes artificially low).

    Eligible costs include:

    · addressing revenues shortfalls;

    · facility reopening and operating costs;

    · emergency planning and response costs;

    ·  bylaw enforcement and protective services like fire protection and police;

    · computer and other electronic technology costs (to improve interconnectivity and virtual communications);

    · services for vulnerable persons (e.g. persons living with disabilities, mental illness or addictions, persons experiencing homelessness or other vulnerabilities); and

    · other related costs.

    What is the different between the operating and capital budgets?

    The operating budget covers the day-to-day expenses required to deliver services to residents. These costs return year after year and include items like staff wages, office supplies and utilities. 

    The capital budget is used for long term investments like infrastructure and facilities, that are paid off over time. Road repairs, machinery, and maintenance of water treatment plants are all capital expenses.

    How do you fund the budget?

    Central Saanich, like other Canadian cities, provides a broad range of services, and we fund them from a limited revenue stream with only three main sources:
    • Property taxes
    • Utility fees
    • User fees (such as parking meter fees; dog and business licences; parking and building permits; recreation programs including pools, rinks, and fitness centres)

    Over half of our operating revenues come from property taxes paid by residents and businesses. Almost one quarter comes from fees and other revenues, with the remainder from utilities.

    How is the budget created?

    The annual budget is not just about revenues and expenditures. It reflects what Council, businesses, residents, and the community value. We follow these steps to develop the budget each year. It’s a year-round process:
    • June: The budget guideline for the following years plan is developed
    • September to November: The user fee review is completed
    • September to November: The Twenty-Five Year Capital Plan is updated
    • November to January: The Budget Proposal is prepared
    • February to April: The Budget Proposal is introduced and reviewed
    • May 15: The statutory deadline for budget and tax rate bylaws approval

    Can you incur debt?

    Municipal governments are required by provincial legislation to balance their budgets. While a municipality can incur debt to pay for large capital acquisitions, it cannot incur a deficit to fund day-to-day operations the same way senior levels of government can.