Port Coquitlam City Council has cancelled its plans to implement a 2020 property tax increase and extended its tax and utility payment deadlines to September 2.
These measures are meant to provide residents and businesses some relief from their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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City council made the decision in a meeting Tuesday night. In January, it had approved a minor 0.48% property tax increase for the average home assessed at $735,185, but this is no longer happening, with the tax bill to remain constant from 2019. As well, it has waived fees for non-sufficient funds.
“As a city, our economic approach during the pandemic is twofold – reduce costs where possible, while continuing to provide as many services as possible to support residents and businesses,” said Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West in a statement.
“We know many residents and businesses are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis, and every dollar counts. They’re having to tighten their belts, and the city is going to do the same to support them.”
The municipal government is focusing on key services, seeking efficiencies to reduce its operating costs, and working towards securing its cash flow. As taxes and utility fees account for about 85% of the city’s revenue, city council is planning to approve a revenue anticipation borrowing bylaw to help bridge the gap for its deferral program through the start of September.
Additionally, the city will continue its $24.4 million capital program for 2020, which includes constructing the next phases of the new Port Coquitlam Community Centre, pedestrian safety and calming projects, and 10 km of road improvements, such as lane paving, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and utility upgrades. As the provincial government has designated construction work and trades as an essential service, both private development and public sector construction projects can continue.
Port Coquitlam says it has joined other municipal governments in BC in requesting the provincial government to expand the property tax deferment program and standardize extended tax deadlines.