Red Deer city council voted Tuesday to approve, in principle, pushing back the deadline for homeowners to pay property taxes for 90 days.
The move is to address the ongoing financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the city said the decision to move the deadline to Sept. 30 is “in keeping with changes to the provincial education requisition deadline.”
On Tuesday, councillors also extended the Business Improvement Area tax levy deadline until Sept. 30 and decided not to move forward with “supplementary property taxes or BIA taxes in 2020.”
“Supplementary tax is the amount of tax levies on a supplementary assessment only,” the city said. “This tax is specific to properties that are under construction and were completed or occupied following construction at some point during the year.”
While homeowners and businesses won’t be penalized for not paying their taxes until the new deadline, the city urged those who can pay earlier to do so.
“We recognize the financial and emotional hardship the COVID-19 crisis is causing all Red Deerians, and we want to do our part to ease the financial burden to our taxpayers during this time,” Mayor Tara Veer said in a news release.
“The city has been analyzing potential options for the past few weeks, and city council is glad to share what we hope will be welcome news with our community today.”
City hall remains closed, so those looking to pay property taxes can sign up for the city’s tax installment plan, mail a cheque to the city or pay through their bank or credit union. The city noted that it is not able to process tax payments via credit card.
City councillors will deliberate final tax rates at upcoming council meetings. In January, city council approved its 2020 capital and operating budgets with a proposed municipal tax increase of 0.97 per cent.
Tuesday’s move to extend the property tax deadline is the latest measure Red Deer is taking to respond to the sharp economic downturn that has unfolded since the COVID-19 crisis hit Alberta. Residents who are not able to pay their city utility bills can defer payment until June 15.
The city has also suspended fees for parking on the street, in city centre lots and near the hospital.
Events cancelled, some facilities closed
Amid ongoing efforts throughout the province to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Red Deer announced Tuesday it has closed a number of its facilities until June 30.
Among the public amenities affected by the closures are River Bend Golf and Recreation Area (including the golf course and related amenities as well as Discovery Canyon but not walking trails), the Recreation Centre Outdoor Pool, the Ross Street Patio, the Red Deer Lions Campground and spray parks.
Some private amenities are also impacted by the closures: the Red Deer Public Market and the DBA Wednesday Farmers Market.
“We know this is disappointing news for many members of our community,” said Karen Mann, the city’s emergency operations director.
“None of these decisions have been easy to make, and [I want to] to remind our residents that each decision is truly made with their health and safety top of mind.”
For a complete list of city events that have either been cancelled or postponed, click here.
For a list of city facilities that have been closed, click here.
Watch below: Some videos from a news conference in Edmonton on Tuesday where officials provided an update on Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.