Monday, July 20, 2020

City Council to consider delaying Tax Sale date and extend redemption period as part of civic response to COVID

City of Prince Rupert CFO Corinne
Bomben will deliver a report for
council tonight on themes related
to a potential Tax Sale delay for 2020
(City of Prince Rupert photo)
Prince Rupert City Councillors will receive a report tonight, that offers up some guidance on the prospect  for a potential delay for the annual Tax Sale on delinquent properties, as well as to put in place a possible extension for the redemption period.

The report compiled by the City's Financial Officer Corrine Bomben notes that the province offered the option for delay and extension to municipalities back in April of this year, that as part of the provincial government's response to COVID and the impact it could have on municipalities.

As part of her review of the local situation, Ms. Bomben offers up three options for consideration by Council, but observes that there is no one size fits all measure that can offer relief to the situation.

Staff recognizes that with the turmoil caused by COVID-19, some owners’ ability to come up with the funds to pay the 2018 delinquent taxes may be compromised. The delay of one year may allow them to organize their affairs and find other sources of funds to pay the 2 years of delinquent taxes due in 2021, and, perhaps, the whole amount owing. For others, extending the deadline is simply delaying the inevitable, or setting them up for an insurmountable payment in 2021.

By delaying to 2021, those that cannot pay the delinquent taxes by the tax sale date will then need to come up with 4 years’ worth of taxes (2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021) and interest incurred through auction in order to redeem their property by September 2022.

While the delay may appear to be compassionate at first glance, it could end up adding additional financial hardship. The result depends entirely on the individual circumstances of the property owners and unfortunately, this is a one-size-fits-all measure.

The report comes following the tax deadline of July 2nd, part of her documentation provides a chart that summarizes the number of delinquent properties as of July 13th

The three recommendations for Council to consider tonight include:

Prepare a bylaw delaying the 2020 property tax sale and the 2019 redemption period

Prepare a bylaw delaying the 2020 property tax sale

Do not prepare any bylaw delaying the tax sale or 2019 redemption period and let the 2020 tax sale stand.

The full report that the Councillors will be reviewing can be accessed from tonight's Agenda for Council starting on Page 16.

See our notes here, for some more background  related to this evening's Council session, the only public session for July.

Further themes from past City Council discussions can be found here.

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