City to Provide Tax Relief and Deferrals
The City of Kimberley continues to seek ways to support residents during the COVID-19 crisis. Because municipalities are required by law to deliver a balanced budget, they generally have limited control over financial relief measures. However, Council and staff have determined opportunities to help during this pandemic.
“Council and staff have been working towards providing financial relief to taxpayers during these challenging times. This relief will take two forms: tax reduction, and tax and utility fee deferral,” says Scott Sommerville, Chief Administrative Officer.
“With regard to tax reduction, Council directed staff to prepare a 5-year financial plan with a 0% increase in municipal taxation for 2020 by transferring $139,559 from prior years’ surplus to make up for lost tax. Council also directed staff to prepare an Alternative Municipal Tax Collection Scheme Bylaw. Rather than the mandated 10% penalty for unpaid balances being applied on July 2nd, the bylaw will allow for 5% to be applied on July 2nd and 5% on September 1st.”
Sommerville continued, “The Utility Rates Penalty Deferral Bylaw was recently adopted by Council which adjusted the penalty dates for unpaid second-quarter utility payments from June 10th to August 10th. City staff will continue to monitor for legislative changes that may allow for further financial relief.”
Property owners need to be aware that the City has no control over the amount of property tax it will be required to collect for, and subsequently remit to, the Regional District, the Regional Hospital, School Tax or the other taxing agencies. Changes to property assessments and flat tax adjustments may also affect the tax bill. Therefore, when property owners receive their tax notices in May, they may still see an increase or decrease from their 2019 tax bill based on these adjustments. In rare cases a property owner’s tax bill will be the same as 2019 despite the 0% municipal tax adjustment in 2020.
Businesses and light industrial class properties will also see a 0% increase to the City portion of their property tax bill in 2020. The Province previously announced that school taxes will be halved for these tax classes.