Keeping taxes affordable is important to the well-being of our businesses and residents. Like any business or resident, the needs and wants within a municipality are often greater than what the municipality and community can afford at one time. Each year as part of the budget process, choices must be made.
The Community Charter requires that
If you have any questions or would like any additional information, please contact the Finance Department at 250-656-1184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Town Reduces 2020 Tax Impacts
In response to the unprecedented financial impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Council directed staff to present options for the elimination of the previously-approved tax increase for the year, as well as additional reductions for Commercial and Light Industrial properties. These options were presented to Council, and considered over the course of two meetings. Council ultimately decided on the following tax reduction measures:
That the 2020-2024 Financial Plan be amended to reflect a 0% general tax increase for Residential properties, and a 10% general tax decrease for Commercial and Light Industrial properties, with the offsetting funding to come from Accumulated Surplus.
A rollback of the general tax increase, to go along with a 10% reduction in taxes for business properties, will reduce the Town’s property tax revenues for the year by just under $550,000. This revenue shortfall is to be made up, at least initially, through an additional allocation of accumulated surplus. As the year progresses, and the length and impact of the pandemic become clearer, we will be looking at the expenditure side of the budget to see what projects will have to be deferred, and what programs may lead to savings through curtailment. These will have to be balanced off against unforeseen costs resulting from the pandemic. Any net savings realized throughout the year will be factored into next year’s financial plan.
A 10% municipal property tax reduction for Commercial properties, combined with the large reduction in Provincial School Taxes, will mean total savings of about $2,800 for the average business; this represents a 22.5% reduction over taxes paid in 2019.
In addition to the above tax reductions, Council also approved the following relaxations in the payment of taxes for this year:
- For Residential, Utility or Farm class properties, the late payment penalties will be applied as follows: 5% for amounts outstanding after July 31st; an additional 5% for amounts outstanding after December 15th;
- For Commercial, Light Industrial and Recreational class properties, the late payment penalties will be applied as follows: 5% for amounts outstanding after September 30th; an additional 5% for amounts outstanding after December 15th.
The regular penalty dates are July 3rd and early September. Please refer to the information that will be provided with your property tax notice for additional information. The notices will be mailed near the end of May.
The following staff reports were considered by Council in making the above decisions:
- Options to Reduce 2020 Property Tax Impacts (April 7th). Appendices.
- Tax Increase and Due Dates (April 17th). Appendix.
2020 - 2024 Financial Plan
The 2020-2024 Financial Plan was introduced to Council and the public at the Committee of the Whole meeting of January 20, 2020, received initial consideration on February 3, 2020, and was approved at the Special Council Meeting of February 18, 2020.
The draft financial plan started out with a proposed general tax increase of 2.98%. This amount included several internal and external requests that had not yet been approved by Council, and was simply a starting point for budget deliberations.
At the February 18, 2020 meeting, Council reduced the proposed tax increase to 1.79% by deferring or reducing two capital projects, identifying alternate (non-tax) funding for several others, denying one of the Supplemental requests, and reducing the amount allocated to economic development for the year. The impact of a 1.79% tax increase to the average residence is about $27 for the year.
Copies of the three staff presentations are linked below, along with the public budget document. Please note that the items should be considered together. Reading the document without also checking out the presentations will likely not provide enough information.
- 2020 - 2024 Financial Plan
- January 20, 2020 Presentation
- February 3, 2020 Presentation
- February 18, 2020 Presentation
The three meetings were recorded, as are all Town Council and Committee of the Whole meetings. For those seeking the most complete introduction to the financial plan, the above presentations may be viewed together with the below video recordings of the meetings.
- Video Recording of the January 20, 2020 Presentation
- Video Recording of the February 3, 2020 Presentation
- Video Recording of the February 18, 2020 Presentation
The following resources are available to provide more details on the draft financial plan.
- 2020 Capital Projects Summary
- February 3, 2020 Staff Report
- February 18, 2020 Staff Report
- Media Release - Sidney Approves 2020 Financial Plan