The City of Duncan will raise property taxes 2.51 per cent in 2020, council decided at its meeting on May 4.
That means an average home in the city valued at $378,799 will pay an extra $36 in property taxes this year, while the average business valued at $622,982 will see a tax increase of $153.
Financial director Bernice Crossman said in a report that council and staff worked diligently to keep the overall increase in taxes as low as possible while maintaining existing city service levels.
“Staff are still reviewing ways to reduce other costs to be able to absorb the increased costs and lost revenues due to COVID-19, such as lost parking revenues, interest revenues, water penalties, and increased security costs,” she said.
The city was considering a 3.16 per cent tax increase in 2020, but the financial repercussions on the city’s citizens from the COVID-19 crisis led council to reconsider its options.
As a result of the ongoing health crisis, council 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.
Crossman said the City normally charges an average of $35,000 per year in overdue tax penalties.
“The financial impacts of the change to the penalty dates are hard to quantify,” she said.
The city also reduced funding for council and staff conference and travel expenses in 2020 by $29,075 as a cost saving during the budget process, and added $100,000 to the annual grant budget this year for the creation of a COVID-19 grant program.
Local organizations that are supporting businesses or individuals through the crisis can apply for grants of up to $10,000 through the program.
Tax notices will be sent out to the city’s property owners this month and will include a newsletter providing details of the city’s budget and tax processes.