Duncan City Hall will reopen June 1. (File photo)

City of Duncan, North Cowichan reopening municipal halls

North Cowichan’s municipal hall will reopen on June 15, but for tax payments only.

The municipal halls in the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan will be reopened in June.

A press release from the City of Duncan said city hall will reopen starting June 1 for in-person transactions.

The release said the schedule will be Monday to Friday, with 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. designated for seniors and people who are immune compromised, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all other customers.

“The city is following the advice of public health officials by putting in place extra cleaning and other physical distancing measures to protect staff and the public,” the statement said.

“To protect the safety of our staff and the public, if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to the virus, please do not attend City Hall.”

Payments for property taxes, utility bills and bylaw tickets in the city will be accepted in person using cheque, debit, or cash starting June 1.

The city does not accept credit cards for property taxes or utility bills, and customers who can make payments through their online banking and file home owner grants through the website (www.duncan.ca) are encouraged to do so.

The drop box at city hall will also be monitored for payments or correspondence.

As a result of the ongoing health crisis, Duncan’s council recently decided, among other initiatives, to give taxpayers a break by being more lenient as to when taxes are to be collected this year.

The due date has not been changed and remains at July 2, and residents and businesses that can pay by the due date are encouraged to do so, but no penalties will be levied this year until Oct. 1.

“Other city business can still be done by phone at 250-746-6126, or be emailing general inquiries to duncan@duncan.ca,” the release said.

“Some city staff members continue to work from home where possible. Service levels in all departments are returning to normal capacity, with safety measures in place. Please note that in-person meetings are not being scheduled at this time.”

North Cowichan’s municipal hall will reopen on June 15, but for tax payments only.

At last week’s council meeting, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said there will be physical distancing protocols in place at the municipal hall when it reopens, and it may take people longer to pay their taxes than usual so the municipality is strongly encouraging people to pay online if possible.

“Also, with respect to the timing of the tax payments, all tax payment deadlines have been extended to the end of September, but we would respectfully ask folks who are able to pay their taxes on the usual schedule by early July,” Siebring said.

“Doing that minimizes our need to borrow money to keep our operations going. Other than taxes, all other enquiries should still be done by email or telephone wherever possible, and if those enquiries do require some kind of face-to-face meeting, that will be arranged after the exchange of emails or phone calls. Most of our staff will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future.”

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