News Release – March 31
MAYOR JOHANSEN – COVID-19 UPDATE
For Immediate Release
March 31, 2020
Last week at the direction of the Province, all local governments were ordered to activate their emergency plans. In response, the Town of Oliver has opened its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at a Level 1. In addition, we are developing business continuity plans and advanced planning for other emergencies, such as freshet flooding and wildfires.
Mayor and Council are being updated on developments and yesterday, took part in what will be regularly scheduled EOC virtual update/briefing meetings. The COVID-19 situation changes daily and we will continue to provide regular updates to keep the community informed as we respond to emerging issues. I encourage everyone looking for the most current information to visit the Town of Oliver COVID-19 website at www.oliver.ca. For anyone concerned they have COVID-19 symptoms, there is a link to the BC COVID-19 Assessment Tool. You can also download the BC COVID-19 Support App and Self-Assessment Tool (powered by thrive health) at https://bc.thrive.health/. You can complete the assessment yourself and there is information on what to do and where to go depending on the results.
We recognize these are unprecedented times and the Town of Oliver is working every day to provide a proactive and informed response. The Provincial and Federal government have implemented several measures to support residents and local businesses facing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming weeks, Council will be reviewing options within our jurisdiction to help with the challenges facing our residents and businesses in these uncertain times.
To start, the Town of Oliver is going to review and re-assess the 2020 budget for cost saving measures aimed at reducing the tax increase. Staff have been given direction to identify non-essential expenses and services within the base budget. In addition, service levels and the capital program will also be reviewed to evaluate need and the ability to complete the work as planned. An important consideration for Council during this review will be the Town’s desire to support economic recovery when the time comes. The final tax rate for 2020 is still to be determined and will be dependent on what can be deferred, cut or put on hold.
I have a regular conference call with Provincial Ministers and Mayors from throughout BC scheduled for every Thursday to discuss provincial responses to the pandemic and let the Ministries know what challenges municipalities are needing help with. One item we are eager to get feedback on is the request being made to expand the Provincial Property Tax Deferment Program to include all property owners, including residential, business and non-profit organizations. The Province of BC, under the Community Charter, has the authority to defer property tax for municipalities and there is a formal request to the Province to do so.
If you are looking for ways to help I would encourage you find ways to support our local businesses as they need our support more than ever. Many small business are still operating with social distancing procedures, delivery service or pickup. There is lots of information online, including hours of operations and online shopping options.
I would like to remind everyone about the importance of social distancing and staying a minimum of six feet apart outside of our homes, frequent hand-washing, using virtual options to connect with others, avoiding large gatherings and staying home if you are sick. In addition, please remember to buy only what you need. There are shortages in some essential items as can be seen by the bare shelves. Let’s do our part and remember others are in need as well.
Town of Oliver
250 485 6200