March 25, 2020
2020 Tax Freeze and Budget Review
NELSON, BC – With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the City of Nelson is working to support the community by implementing measures to help ease the financial challenges and kick start the economy.
Council held a special meeting on March 18, 2020, to address current financial concerns for the community and work towards collaborative solutions.
“We understand that these are unprecedented times, and we want the community to understand that we are working hand in hand with senior levels of government and regional partners to lessen the economic impacts moving forward,” says Mayor John Dooley. “This is a top priority for us, and we will continue to work extremely hard to ensure services continue to be delivered while doing our part to lessen the financial burden.”
In order to support the City of Nelson, Council has approved the following measures:
- An extension of the 2020 10% discount period for water, sewer, and garbage fees to April 15, 2020, to provide current financial relief for residents and businesses.
- A 0% tax increase for the 2020 year. In the case of any deficits, reserves will be used to cover possible shortfalls to mitigate costs for residents and businesses.
- A review of revenue and expenses that were presented to Council at the March 13, 2020 budget meeting to explore new opportunities to relieve budgetary pressures. City budgets will be reviewed to determine if some projects or expenditures can be delayed.
- Projects or expenditures that will stimulate the local economy by employing local businesses and/or can attract grants will be prioritized.
- A review to be conducted by staff on all fees, charges and penalties and the financial impact of waving or deferring these payments.
- A request to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) to implement a tax freeze for the 2020 fiscal year in order to lower overall taxes.
The RDCK Board did meet and deferred a number of proposed new expenditures until 2021, thereby reducing their proposed increase for 2020, however, they were not able to meet the zero % tax increase request proposed by Council. The City is still waiting to get final numbers to determine the impact on City taxpayers.
There is good news from the Province of BC where the Provincial Government has agreed to reduce school taxes by 50% for businesses. The combined result of the City of Nelson’s actions and the Province of BC will see the property tax bill for all businesses reduced.
The City is committed to maintaining current service levels and will examine ways to decrease costs and optimize services during these difficult times. Supporting one another going forward is an important step and Council is working to offer flexibility to residents and businesses.
“Previous Councils have supported building up reserves over the past ten plus years, and this prudent financial management has created the financial flexibility to respond to emergency situations such as we are experiencing with this pandemic. “says Colin McClure, Deputy CAO for the City of Nelson.
Mayor John Dooley – (250) 352-8236
Colin McClure, Chief Financial Officer firstname.lastname@example.org