The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is calling on the B.C. government to provide an extra three months of property tax flexibility as relief from COVID-19.
Writing to Premier John Horgan and Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson, the chamber asked the government to allow business and residential property owners to apply for a deferral on property taxes and municipal utility service payments until Sept. 30. Property taxes are normally due in early July.
Greater Vernon Chamber president Krystin Kempton said the ongoing pandemic has left businesses with disrupted revenue streams while many of their fixed costs continue.
“Many are also left with residential mortgages and are caring for children or elderly parents. They require some certainty that they can pay essential bills at this time, while preparing for property taxes in the future.”
The chamber said an application process for property tax referrals is a better option than an outright deferral, since some owners will be able to pay their taxes by the traditional deadline.
“They should be encouraged to do so as a way of supporting their local municipality or regional district,” said Kempton.
The chamber also asked the province to help municipalities, regional districts and other local agencies provide services until Sept. 30.
“We are cognizant that any potential deferral of property taxes could impact municipal and regional district operations,” said Kempton.
“It is important that the provincial government ensure local governments can continue to provide services to residents until any property tax deferral concludes.”