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City of Burlington Looking at Property Tax Payment Relief Options for Extending Grace Period on Penalties, Interest

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UPDATE: Council approved the motion.

On June 22, City Council will consider a motion I brought forward at committee to get options for cancelling penalty and interest on late tax payments until the end of the year or some earlier time frame. The cost of eliminating penalty and interest is $1.65 million. Oakville has already made this decision, Halton Hills hasn’t and Milton is offering an application program to defer penalty and interest.

Here is a link to a Halton Region memo outlining what our municipalities are doing financially: Halton Region Memo_Financial Update Recovery Committee June 8 2020.

Council received the update from staff at yesterday’s (June 11) Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) Committee meeting.

The City of Burlington is looking at a potential year-end negative shortfall of $3.2 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank staff for doing everything they have done and making the tough decisions to bring that negative shortfall down from an initial $18 million hole through a combination of cost control, reserves meant for fluctuations in revenue like we are experiencing with COVID-19, and other measures.

Please click this link for the full staff presentation: June 11 COVID-19 Emergency Response Update (the financial/budget update is from pg. 5-13).

Commitee unanimously approved a motion to direct the City’s chief financial officer to come back in September 2020 to present at CSSRA a 2021 Budget Framework Report with budget timelines as we look to approve that budget in Q1 2021.

We know times are difficult for many residents and businesses who are having difficulty paying their taxes. We need to explore ways to assist.

The City already cancelled penalty and interest on tax until June 30, and also delayed the dates of the next instalments to Aug. 20 and Oct. 20. Final tax bills will be mailed out in July.

Property taxes are the most important revenue source for the city to ensure we continue to provide essential services for residents of the City of Burlington during these challenging circumstances. Taxpayers are encouraged to make payments where possible during these unique times.

Municipal governments cannot run debts, and my fellow members of the Ontario Big City Mayors have clearly indicated that debt financing for operations is not an option we accept or want. Neither unreasonable tax increases to cover our shortfalls nor cutting services are options.

For this reason, myself and fellow mayors across Ontario and Canada continue to urge the federal and provincial governments to step up and provide relief funding for municipalities. I encourage you to reach out to your MPs and MPPs and let them know your City needs financial relief so that you can continue to make use of the services and programming you need in Burlington.

– Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

RELATED LINKS:

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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