By Justin Seward
Bow Island town council passed the municipality’s Tax Rate Bylaw at their April 27 meeting. The bylaw allows for changes in how tax penalties are collected. Initially tax penalties were set with taxes due on Aug. 15, with an 18 per cent penalty assessed after that date and another 18 per cent on the balance of taxes owing after Dec. 31. However, Bylaw 2020:03 will still keep the due date on Aug. 15, but the first penalty of six per cent will not be assessed until Oct. 15. The second penalty of 12 per cent will take effect on all balances owing after Dec. 31.
“We left the due date as is, but moved the penalties back and hopefully that works for folks,” said Mayor Gordon Reynolds.
“The danger for an individual or business that puts off their taxes, you’ll have a great big bill. We understand that some people might not be able to because their business is shut down or have been shut down for a long time. This at least gives them more time.”
This is the second step in helping citizen of the town with payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic along with the deferral of utility bills for three months.
The tax levies remain the same as 2019 for residential and non-residential.
The Education Tax was implemented for businesses and the town will not collect that until October.
Water Maintenance Tax
The Water Maintenance Tax levy will be at $1.25 per frontage foot on all properties.
Tax installment payment plan
Council approved the bylaw to have clearer wording. A request to set up tax installments must be made before Aug. 1 every year, installments cannot be made between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31 each year.
If someone does not pay their monthly payments for two months then there eligibility will be cancelled.
Council will retain the ability to establish a tax agreement as part of the tax recovery process on an individual basis.
Council passed the amended operating budget.
“Nothing significant,” said Reynolds.
“It’s still a balanced budget. Some costs of operation are down a little bit because there’s not as much going on.”
Other town matters
The pool will remain closed as per the province’s regulation to not open them.
“We will abide by that. If that changes and there is still reasonable amount of time left in the season, we will open it,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds says that most groups have taken upon themselves to postpone or cancel their events.
“We appreciate that,” he said.
“We’re happy to field questions from any groups that are still trying to make a decision.”
Reynolds said on COVID-19 in town that “Everybody has been quite cooperative. We had a couple of wrinkles early on when the restrictions came out from the province. It was a matter of getting some people to understand. As it goes on, it’s probably getting harder I’m sure for people to put up with it all.”