City Extends More Support For Port Coquitlam Taxpayers
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Apr. 29, 2020… Port Coquitlam residents and businesses facing financial struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic now have until Sept. 30 to pay their 2020 taxes and utilities.
Last night, Council formally adopted the 2020-2024 Financial Plan Bylaw and voted to extend the tax and utility payment deadline for all taxpayers to the end of September, rather than to Sept. 2 as originally planned. The measure provides additional support to the community while also aligning with provincial business tax submission deadlines.
“This provides some extra relief to the many Port Coquitlam residents and businesses that are experiencing financial hardship at this time,” Mayor Brad West said. “It’s important to us to be able to remain responsive to this ever-changing situation. By focusing our spending on the core services that matter most to the community, we had the ability to offer property owners a break this year while continuing to deliver a number of improved services.”
The change means no late fees will be charged on outstanding balances until after September 30. Homeowners will also benefit from Council’s decision earlier this month to eliminate this year’s proposed tax increase – originally 0.48 per cent for the average home assessed at $735,185. The city has also waived fees for non-sufficient funds this year.
To prepare for any cash-flow issues that may arise over the summer – given that taxes and utilities make up about 85 per cent of the city’s revenue – the city adopted a temporary borrowing bylaw on Apr. 14.
“Our updated 2020 budget is a reflection of the city’s diligent approach to financial planning,” noted Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for budget matters. “We’re still in a solid financial position. That being said, we strongly encourage property owners to pay their taxes and utilities in July if they can afford to do so, to help provide cash flow and ensure city resources go where they are most needed.”
To make up for decreased revenue the city is reducing non-essential spending and placing a hold on external hiring except for critical positions. It will still be able to move forward with plans for additional bylaw enforcement officers, a department restructure to focus on community safety, strategic project management, enhanced emergency medical response training for firefighters and year-round weekly organics collection.
The city’s $24.4 million capital program for 2020 – funded through various reserve accounts and interest savings – is also proceeding as planned because construction is considered an essential service. Workers are following all construction-site public health requirements related as set out by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Capital projects include playground upgrades at local parks, the continuing construction of the Port Coquitlam Community Centre, a variety of pedestrian safety and traffic calming projects, and over 10 kilometres of road, lane, sidewalk and utility upgrades.
The average Port Coquitlam residential property assessed at $735,185 will see no increase in their tax bill from last year. However, the amount paid by each property will depend on how it compares to the average residential assessment ($735,185), along with how much its assessed value changed from the previous year.
Property assessments decreased an average of 8.97 per cent overall for Port Coquitlam residential properties from 2019. That means properties assessed at $735,185 whose assessment decreased by 8.97 per cent or more will see their taxes stay the same or go down, while those with a smaller assessment decrease will see a tax increase. Changes to a property’s assessed value can be found in the assessment notices mailed out at the beginning of the year.
The average Port Coquitlam business will see a 0.59% decrease, and light industry a 3.33% decrease. All businesses will benefit from the provincial government’s reduction in school taxes for 2020, amounting to about a 20 per cent savings for the average business.
Information and Resources
Visit www2.gov.bc.ca/propertytaxdeferment to apply for the provincial tax deferment program.
Those still in a comfortable financial position may consider taking advantage of the city’s tax prepayment plan, which divides the following year’s utility and/or tax payments into an equal number of pre-authorized payments. The best time to start is in July. Visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/prepayment to sign up for 2021.
The deadline to claim the annual Home Owner Grant has also shifted to Sept. 30, with 2020 applications accepted starting in late May at www.portcoquitlam.ca/e-hog.
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Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533