With many businesses closed, many others getting less income and a lot of people losing their jobs, at least temporarily, the Town is planning to provide relief of various kinds. Although the Provincial and Federal Governments are planning to provide relief, it may come later than needed and may not be sufficient in many cases so the Town is wanting to help out. This will include free transit, free parking, delayed payment of taxes and generally being sensitive to the difficult circumstances many residents will find themselves in. Some of the problem is caused by the fact that the public cannot enter Victoria Hall but it’s not just that. Below is a list of what’s being planned and the rationale. A special Council meeting at about 3:30 pm on Monday will be asked to formally approve these measures although some are already in place.
- Benefit: Transit service will be provided at no charge until May 1, 2020 and riders will only use the rear door for entry and exit.
Rationale: Helps people get to where they need to go; avoids the need to buy transit passes with Town Hall closed; allows for social distancing between driver and passengers
- Discontinuance: Extended hours for accessible transit to be eliminated until May 1, 2020.
Rationale: There is no ridership during these additional hours and there is a need for our transit contractor to continue to provide sufficient drivers to maintain the system.
- Benefit: Free parking at all municipal lots and at all municipal meters until May 1, 2020.
Rationale: Removes the need to buy parking passes and it eliminates the need to remove coin from meters when the municipality is operating at a reduced level of staffing
- Benefit: A waiver of all penalties and interest charges on unpaid property taxes which would normally have been applied on April 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020
Rationale: Employment insurance benefits may arrive later than desired so this gives time to pay. Also “many businesses have been forced to close or at the very least seen a significant reduction in revenue making it very difficult for them to pay their rent or property taxes”. This will “allow these property owners to not be penalized while the businesses are experiencing these hardships.”
- Benefit: Upon request, payments on pre-authorized payment plans may be delayed.
Rationale: Not everyone will need to defer payments hence the recommendation to base deferrals on requests.
The financial impact to the Town will include loss of transit and parking revenues (no estimated amount) plus an expected $70K loss due to waiving penalties. Cash flow will not be a problem.