News Release – Mayor Johansen – Covid19 Update
MAYOR JOHANSEN – COVID-19 UPDATE
For Immediate Release
April 24, 2020
The Town of Oliver has taken additional action to support citizens and businesses. During the April 20 – Special Open meeting Council passed a motion to assign the 2020 Property Tax Rates with a due date of July 2nd with a one percent (1%) penalty applied on July 3rd and a four percent (4%) penalty applied October 1st. Commercial businesses have until September 30 to pay their taxes, and the penalty of five percent (5%) will be applied October 1st.
By reducing and deferring penalties, Council is doing everything within their power as a local government to provide some financial relief through the summer. Resident who are able to meet the July 2nd deadline are strongly encouraged to do so as the Town must submit payment for taxes due, on behalf of other agencies by August 1st whether the funds have been revised or not. The total payment due to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and Regional Hospital District is approximately $1.9 million.
Residents are also encouraged to look into the BC Government’s property tax deferment programs offering low-interest loans to those who qualify. Residents may qualify if they are 55 or older during the current year, a surviving spouse of any age, a person with disabilities, a parent, stepparent or financially supporting a child. Another option for financial support is the Temporary Rent Supplement program. Additionally, the Provincial Government just announced a $1000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers starting May 1. The benefit is a one time, tax free payment for residents of the province.
This morning Prime Minister Trudeau announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small business. The federal help is expected to lower rent by 75% for affected small businesses and is being provided in partnership the provinces. Affected small business are those paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. It is expected the new program will be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents for their small business tenants payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.
I encourage everyone to visit the Town’s COVID-19 website and follow the links to the “Province of BC” and/or “Government of Canada” websites for information on these recently announced programs.
The topic of domestic farm workers continues to dominate local news and topics of discussion in the South Okanagan. To provide an update, I would like to recognize the BC Fruit Growers Association (BCFGA) for their on-going, hard work assessing the COVID-19 risks associated with arriving domestic farm workers. Through first hand observations on the number of workers present in the area, where those workers are staying, COVID-19 documentation available to workers, supervised and unsupervised camp options, transportation etc., the BCFGA is working to assess risk and provide alternatives to resolve concerns as they develop during the upcoming fruit harvest season.
Town of Oliver
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