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Posted on: April 7, 2020

Hinton Town Council Approves Support for those Impacted by COVID-19

Hinton Town Council Approves Support for those Impacted by COVID-19

April 07, 2020

During a Special Meeting of Council held this (April 7, 2020) afternoon, Hinton Town Council took actions which are intended to provide relief to COVID-19 impacted residents.

These actions offer residents the ability to defer payment and penalties for Property Taxes until August 31, 2020 as well as defer payment and penalties for Town utilities for a period of 120 days ending in August 2020. 

Taxes

Under the Municipal Government Act S.347(1) "Council may consider with or without conditions to defer the collection of a tax; cancel or reduce tax arrears; or cancel or refund all or part of a tax." Council does not have the authority to change assessments or the way assessments are determined.

Council made motion:

That Council approve deferral of the deadline for payment of 2020 Property Taxes from June 30, 2020 to August 31, 2020 in order to provide residents and businesses payment deferment as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.


The Town of Hinton collects 90% of property taxes owing between May and September each year, and for 2020, taxation is estimated to collect $17.9M ($13M Municipal and $4.9M for Requisition Tax) during these months. Administration has analyzed the impact of deferring the collection of property taxes for a sixty-day period from June 30th until August 31st. During this time the Town would continue to send out tax notices but would extend the period for payment to the new deadline date of August 31, 2020.

For those who have automatic withdraw in place, you will need to contact Corporate Services to cancel this withdraw. 

Processes for deferrals are being prepared at this time. Please await further information via CivicSend. 

Utilities

The Town of Hinton typically collects between $330,000 and $500,000 in utility revenue each month. The billing cycle for utilities is on a two-month period. The Town receives on average approximately $2,000 bi-monthly or $6,000 over a five-month period in penalty revenue.

Council passed:

That Council approve deferring payment of Town Utilities for a period of 120 days covering the billings for April, May, June and July 2020 including the cancellation of any associated penalties in order to provide residents and businesses payment deferral as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Administration has reviewed the financial impact of deferring utility payments for a two-billing cycle or four-month period. The projected loss of revenue will be approximately $11,000. This shortfall will come from losses in investment income of $5,000 and penalty income of $6,000.

For those who have automatic withdraw in place, you will need to contact Corporate Services to cancel this withdraw.

Processes for deferrals are being prepared at this time. Please await further information via CivicSend. 

Creation of Temporary Emergency Response Reserve, and Report on Creation of Permanent Reserve

Council passed two other significant motions related to the Towns response to the pandemic scenario:

That Council direct Administration to transfer $240,000 from the Recreation Expansion Reserve to the Temporary Emergency Response Reserve with any requests to access funding from the Emergency Response Reserve be approved by Council. 

and

That Council direct Administration to bring a report to a future Standing Committee meeting regarding the creation of a permanent Emergency Response reserve.  The report should include funding sources and reserve management policy.


Adjustments in Response of COVID

The Town has made and continues to make operational decisions to balance revenue losses with service level reductions, permanent and temporary layoffs, and facility closures. Even with service level reductions, employee layoffs and facility closures, the financial projections identified during the pandemic will result in an operational shortfall of approximately $306,012. The loss of revenue as a result of the deferral of taxes and utilities projected at $114,000 is over and above the projected operational shortfall to date of $192,012.


Further Information

Town websites and online information will be updated in the coming days.


The next COVID-19 related update is scheduled for Thursday, April 9, 2020. 


For questions, please email Info@hinton.ca or call 780-865-6016. 


For information on the Town of Hinton’s COVID-19 response, please click here.

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