The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) council plans to waive penalties on tax payments in the initial few months of 2021.
“I think residents and businesses across the town have been severely impacted by COVID. This last shutdown over the Christmas season has been particularly painful for a lot of businesses and residents,” said TBM councillor Rob Sampson.
“I think we should, as a council, show some recognition of that pain and provide some relief,” he added.
TBM staff will be preparing a draft bylaw for council consideration that will look to waive penalties on tax payments for April, May and June of 2021.
The bylaw is expected to waive penalties for both commercial and residential taxpayers.
According to Ruth Prince, director of finance for TBM, waiving the penalties may cost the municipality approximately $100,000. However, she says that if an additional round of COVID relief funding were to come from the province, the cost could be covered should the town obtain some of that funding.
“I’ve got to believe the province is going to have to provide a third round of funding. It is not as though COVID has stopped impacting municipalities. In fact, I would argue that's probably gotten worse,” Sampson said.
TBM previously waived penalties for tax payments at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to Prince, most TBM residents continued to make the payments on-time and in-full.
“Last year most people did make their payments even though there was a waive of the penalty and interest,” she said. “Most people are in the habit of making the payments and understand that they will have to pay the money eventually anyways.”
A related staff report and draft bylaw are expected to be brought to a committee of the whole meeting in early February.