St. John’s and Paradise residents and businesses can now defer municipal tax payments by six months.
Both communities made the announcement on Monday.
In St. John’s, the city will not charge interest on commercial and residential property taxes or water meter tax up to and including Aug. 31.
Bills will still be mailed at the usual time, but taxpayers will automatically not be charged interest on late payments.
Tax payments can still be made online and through bank deduction. Property owners who have their tax and mortgage payments combined by their bank will need to contact their bank to discuss options.
Effective immediately, the City will not be charging interest on commercial & residential property taxes or water meter tax up to and including August 31, 2020.— City of St. John's (@CityofStJohns) March 23, 2020
Learn the complete details, at: https://t.co/TKZtBh3YvE pic.twitter.com/hBnbPdiFuv
Commercial property owners will also have the vacancy allowance claim period extended. Claims for the first quarter normally due April 30 are now due May 31, and the commercial tax bills for the second quarter normally sent in early May will be sent in early June.
As well, the scheduled tipping fee increase at Robin Hood Bay — from $67.60 to $75 — is delayed from April 1 to Aug. 1.
“We wanted to make sure that we were doing our best to address some of the concerns that we’ve heard from the business community and from residents,” said St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen.
“The impact of this COVID-19 has been huge, and businesses really have suffered, and many residents economically have suffered as well. So, we wanted to get some relief there, and we wanted to do it swiftly, and we wanted to do it simply so that we could make sure that it was in place for now for when they need it.”
Breen said interest the city receives annually is factored into the budget, but council felt this change was needed because of the “very highly unusual situation that we’re finding ourselves in right now.”
Paradise payments deferred
In Paradise, all tax payments — residential, commercial and business — are deferred until the end of June, with no interest charged until June 30.
Tax payment deferral is also available for any Paradise residents who have already made arrangements for pre-authorized payment plans of taxes. A form will need to be filled out, available online at paradise.ca.
The town will still process tax payments as usual for anyone who is not interested in deferral.
We understand the difficulties the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on everyone. Effective immediately, the Town is...Posted by Town of Paradise on Monday, March 23, 2020
Biweekly council meetings break law
Meanwhile, Breen said the council meeting scheduled for Monday was cancelled to avoid having councillors gathered in council chambers amid COVID-19 concerns, but more time was needed to ensure the technology was working to hold meetings remotely.
Two controversial items that were slated for this week’s agenda will be on the agenda next week — a decision on whether to make the Rawlins Cross traffic configuration permanent, and a vote on lifting the adult massage parlour moratorium.
Beginning next week, council will meet biweekly despite the City of St. John’s Act requiring a weekly meeting (except in July and August).
The Council Meeting for Monday, March 23, has been postponed until Monday, March 30, 2020. For the latest information...Posted by City of St. John's on Monday, March 23, 2020
“These are unusual circumstances, and so we feel given that, and the fact that there’s less activity because of the public-health emergency that we’re dealing with, we can meet biweekly,” said Breen.
“If, however, we find that we have to move back to weekly meetings, we will. But we don’t anticipate that we would have to for the foreseeable future.”
Breen previously said the city is focused on maintaining essential services, and to that end, he said the city is still prepared to deal with snow forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. He said the snow is just another reason for people to stay home and follow the advice of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald.