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Letter: Nelson Council Economic Stimulus and Financial Stability Plan

To The Editor:

The Mayor and Council’s Economic Stimulus and Financial Stability 25-Point Action Plan focuses on three pillars:

  • Financial Plan, Fees & Taxation,
  • Economic Stimulus Program and
  • Community Support. Council released details of the Financial Plan, Fees and Taxation pillar on Monday, April 27th and will be releasing details of the Economic Stimulus Program on Thursday, April 30th

Wednesday, Council eleased details of the Community Support pillar. Under this pillar, Council is thoughtfully responding to what has been heard from the Nelson community, including local businesses. 

Council is using its available financial tools to enhance the provincial and federal government relief packages for businesses and residents. 

“We know that many residents and businesses are facing financial hardship from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Mayor Dooley.

“By deferring certain payments to the City until the provincial and federal programs fully kick in will provide extra support for those who really need it, while maintaining the financial sustainability of the City. However, we need those businesses that are able to pay their taxes by July 2nd, to do so.”

Council’s Community Support program includes:

  1. Adoption of the provincial property tax framework.
  2. Promotion of the provincial residential and business property tax deferral program.
  3. Waiving certain fees and penalties and extending due dates for Water & Sewer and Nelson Hydro bill payments.
  4. Creating repayment plan options for those facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. 
  5. Waiving all fees and charges relating to commercial outdoor patios, sidewalk rentals and business signage for 2020. 

Council’s measures build upon the unprecedented financial support programs being offered by the provincial and federal governments.  The federal program is currently valued at $82 billion, and the B.C. government is providing an additional $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and funding for people, businesses and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The provincial government’s COVID-19 Supports for Businesses and Individuals in B.C. information web page outlines over 40 programs that are available to support all sectors of our communities. 

The province has determined the change in school taxation rates reduces most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%. 

The province has also pushed the penalty date for property taxes out to October 1st, for most businesses and not-for-profit organizations.  Class 2 businesses (utilities) and residential property owners will still need to pay their property taxes, in full, by July 2nd to avoid the 10% penalty. 

Under the current provincial deferral programs, many homeowners are able to defer their taxes; this includes a person over 55, a surviving spouse of any age, a person with a disability and a parent or step-parent supporting a child.  

“Nelson residents considering deferring property taxes under the provincial program must apply online through the Provincial Tax Deferral website,” says Chief Financial Officer Colin McClure.

“For individual or business looking to manage other City payments such as utility and hydro bills, they can contact City Hall to discuss options.”

Provincial Tax Deferment:

For detailed information on the Provincial Tax Deferment Program, visit www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/rpt.  All deferment applications and renewals must be completed online. If you have questions, please call 1-888-355-2700 or email taxdeferment@gov.bc.ca.

Respectfully, City of Nelson Mayor & Council