COVID-19: ‘This has not been easy,’ Vernon mayor says

Tax deadlines, grant changes and more among City of Vernon’s adaptations to pandemic

The City of Vernon continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and follow direction from provincial and federal health authorities.

“This public health emergency creates a quickly shifting mix of events,” Mayor Victor Cumming said Tuesday, April 28.

“It requires us to change some of the ways we interact with one another, how we conduct our affairs and manage our enterprises,” he said. “This has not been easy, but I can’t thank you enough for continuing to follow Dr. (Bonnie) Henry’s directives so we can, together, continue to hold down the curve and move forward successfully.”

As new information regarding the pandemic is released daily, the mayor said, everyone has had to adapt to protect themselves.

“Many of us have also had to work through significant financial changes,” he said. “So yesterday, council took additional steps to support our residents and businesses as we continue navigating the local impact of this global pandemic and ready ourselves for a robust recovery.”

One of those changes was to amend the 2020 property tax structure to provide additional assistance for residential property owners.

The one-time municipal tax grant, first announced April 12, is now only available to residential property owners, as per the changes made April 27.

The grant, equivalent to 3.2 per cent of the municipal portion of the Property Tax Notice will automatically be applied to all residential notices.

Council also voted to leave the proportion of tax revenue between business and residential classes unchanged from 2019.

Property taxes, due July 2, have been given an extension. Now, the 10 per cent penalty will be applied to unpaid taxes past Oct. 1, 2020.

To ease the financial burden felt by motorists parking in the core, bylaw enforcement of on-street metered parking zones will remain suspended until council’s next meeting on May 11.

On top of council’s many changes, Vernon Regional Transit announced it is extending its rear-door boarding protocol until May 31 and will not be collecting fares.

The extension means customers don’t need to buy a monthly transit pass or any other fares for the month of May.

The city has implemented physical distancing measures at all city facilities and until further notice, public input for development variance permit applications will be accepted in written form only until the Provincial Health Officer rescinds the physical distancing requirements.

Public hearings will continue to be conducted in person, but the city recommends members of the public submit their written statement prior to the hearing date in lieu of attendance if possible.

The city also encourages members of the public to call or email if at all possible. The contact directory can be found on vernon.ca.

READ MORE: City of Vernon shifts COVID-19 grant to residential taxpayers

READ MORE: City approves $225K to beef up parking meters in Vernon

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