The City of Kimberley is providing additional tax relief and deferrals to help support residents through the COVID-19 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,” said Scott Sommerville, Chief Administrative Officer.
Required by law to deliver a balanced budget, municipalities usually have limited control over what financial relief they can offer to their residents, but the City noted that several opportunities are available.
Sommerville said City Council has directed staff to prepare a 5-Year Financial Plan with a 0% increase in taxation for 2020. That is possible by transferring $139,559 from their 2019 surplus to make up for the 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.”
The Utility Rates Penalty Deferral Bylaw that was previously adopted by Kimberley City Council, adjusted the penalty date for unpaid utility payments in the second quarter of 2020 from June 10th to August 10th.
“City staff will continue to monitor for legislative changes that may allow for further financial relief.”
The City of Kimberley wanted to make it clear to property owners that they have no control over the amount of property tax it will be required to collect for remit to the Regional District of East Kootenay, the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District, School District 6, or other taxing agencies. The tax bill may also be impacted by flat tax adjustments and changes to property assessments.
“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,” said the City. “In rare cases a property owner’s tax bill will be the same as 2019 despite the 0% municipal tax adjustment in 2020.”
The City noted that light industrial properties and business will also see a 0% tax increase on Kimberley’s portion of their property tax bill in 2020. The same tax classes can also expect half the school taxes, as was previously announced by the B.C. Government.