News Release – Mayor Johansen – COVID-19 Update
MAYOR JOHANSEN – COVID-19 UPDATE
For Immediate Release
April 7, 2020
Rise and Report
The Town of Oliver continues to take action to support citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Yesterday, in a Special Closed meeting, Council directed Staff to bring forward changes to the 2020 Property Tax budget and utility rates to support taxpayers and citizens facing financial hardship.
The changes that will be brought forward to the next Council meeting include:
- Deferring the 4% Water Utility increase approved for 2020
- Reducing the 9% Property Tax increase approved for 2020 to NIL
Council also has approved using funds from the reserve accounts to allow for a 50% reduction for the first quarter utility bill for 2020.
The new relief measures approved yesterday are in support of those hardest hit in our local community and recognizing many will be struggling to pay bills right now. Council feels the measures announced today strike good balance between the Town of Oliver’s responsibility to not run a deficit and meet our obligations to maintain essential services. We are also practicing strong financial management by maintaining a strong level of cash assets, prioritizing municipal operations, and focusing on essential capital expenditures.
In these difficult and uncertain times, Council also considers these measures an investment in our community. We encourage residents to re-direct these savings back into the community where they are able to. Shopping local is a great way to support independent businesses who are the backbone of our community’s economic sustainability.
Council also directed staff to enter into an Essential Services Mutual Aid Agreement with adjacent municipalities and RDOS during the COVID-19 pandemic. This agreement will serve to ensure continuity of essential services related to water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure. By entering into this arrangement, any party who determines their own resources are insufficient, can request Mutual Aid from the others to bring the situation under control.
These are difficult times and we need to be diligent in maintaining our social distance, staying a minimum of 2 metres, six feet, apart outside our homes, frequent hand-washing, using virtual options to connect with others, avoid large gatherings and staying home if you are sick.
This will be challenging in consideration of the upcoming Easter long weekend, however please listen to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s message urging people to “keep the firewall strong” and be steadfast in our commitment to holding the line right now in B.C.
Town of Oliver
250 485 6200