Long lines occurred at Vernon city hall as residents paid property taxes.

Long lines occurred at Vernon city hall as residents paid property taxes.

Tax process rings up council concern

Juliette Cunningham is suggesting an express lane in future that is only for non-tax inquiries.

Tax time may have been a taxing experience for some visitors to Vernon city hall.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham has raised concerns about the number of cashiers available for property tax payments this year because that created challenges for other city-related activities.

“If people were coming in for other transactions, the lines were long,” she said.

Cunningham is suggesting an express lane in future that is only for non-tax inquiries.

“I’d like staff to bring a report back on how feasible this is,” she said.

Eighty-eight per cent of total property taxes for Vernon were received prior to the July 4 deadline, down from 2015 when 91 per cent of taxes were received on time.

The figures reflect the total amount of tax dollars paid and not individual taxpayers.

“The difference could be a large property owner not paying on time,” said Tanya Laing Gahr, communications officer.

For those who did not pay their taxes on time, they are now subject to a 10 per cent penalty under the provincial Community Charter.

The city is currently preparing to mail arrears notices for any outstanding taxes, which will include the 10 per cent penalty charge. Notices will be mailed next week.

In terms of homeowner grants, 11,169 were claimed this year while 10,912 were submitted in 2015.

In addition, an increase in the number of people claiming these grants online increased — 39.7 per cent compared to 35.81 per cent in 2015.