City of Moose Jaw drops 2020 property tax increase amid coronavirus pandemic

Moose Jaw city council is dropping the city's property tax increase for this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. File / Global News

The City of Moose Jaw is dropping its 2020 property tax increase, previously set at 2.3 per cent, to help provide some financial relief amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The move, approved by city council on Monday, is valued at about $670,000.

Council also agreed on a small business support program, providing a one-time property tax credit of $500 to Moose Jaw businesses holding a category A or B business licence.

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The city is also extending its utility and property tax payment instalment programs, allowing residents to repay any outstanding balances over 12 months for utilities and 15 months for property taxes, penalty-free.

“We understand the financial pressures of our community and we hope these measures will mitigate some of those difficulties,” Mayor Fraser Tolmie said.

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“We appreciate the continued commitment and perseverance Moose Jaw residents have shown in fighting COVID-19.”

The city eliminated a number of items from its 2020 operating budget, approved in December, to be able to drop its property tax increase.

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This includes the one per cent increase in the 2020 mill rate to fund parks, recreational and facilities capital projects, valued at $295,426. The city said it will be implemented in the 2021 budget.

The city’s financial services and human services budgets are being reduced by $51,060, while third-party funding is being reduced by $159,100 for the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year.

The Phyllis Dewar Outdoor Pool is remaining closed for the 2020 season, saving the city $166,176. City council also reduced its collective travel budget for 2020 by $31,874.

Applications for the small business support program are being made available on Friday. More information can be found on the city’s website.

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Regina council approves a number of changes to offset costs amid COVID-19

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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