The province needs to go further in a united property tax relief effort, insists the mayor of Maple Ridge.
Back in March, school property tax was reduced by 50 per cent in B.C.’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic. Then, on Thursday, the province announced an additional cut to commercial property tax, for schools, will produce an average 25 per cent reduction in 2020 property taxes to cope with COVID-19.
Further, Finance minister Carole James announced that late payment deadline for property taxes is extended to Oct. 1 without penalty.
While Maple Ridge Mayor Michael Morden said it’s “a positive first step” to address the economic hardship we face resulting from COVID-19, he said it’s not enough yet.
Local governments are asked the province to enact a universal approach to the property tax deferment program.
The delayed penalty date of Oct. 1, 2020 for commercial and industrial properties does provide a “measure of relief,” he said.
However, municipalities including Maple Ridge will continue to work with senior governments to seek further sustainable and affordable solutions, Morden added.
“There has been a strong collaboration between all levels of government throughout the COVID-19 health emergency,” the mayor said.
“We will continue to advocate in response to citizens and businesses’ needs. Our priority to date has been following the directions of Dr. Henry to ensure best health for all. In addition, preparatory work is ongoing to ensure our city is best positioned for a healthy economy when coming out of this unprecedented time.”
So, in the coming weeks Maple Ridge council will consider a recommendation to align all property classes penalty dates to Oct. 1, while still keeping the July 2 due date as described in the province’s recent announcement.
Local governments are responsible for collection of school taxes, transit levies and regional fees associated with the delivery of utilities. In addition, we collect revenue to fund local essential services such as police, fire, water, sewer and road maintenance.
Morden predicts further work will be considered as the details of the province’s framework become better known.