The City of Chestermere passed all readings of Bylaw 028-20, which was amendments to the Tax Installment Payment Plan (TIPP) during the Sept. 1 Regular Meeting of Council.
City administration presented tax payment options for residents after offering a Property Tax Payment Deferral Program in response to COVID-19.
“The purpose of bringing this bylaw amendment forward, is this is related to COVID-19, pandemics are not busy as usual, and the city is to be nimble and flexible,” said the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Brenda Hewko.
“This is an opportunity to assist our taxpayers by offering financial cash flow relief,” she added.
For residents who missed the tax deadline, or who requested a deferral of monthly tax payments, the city is providing a variety of options.
Residents can register for the typical TIPP and pay the 2020 tax balance by Dec. 31.
This would result in higher monthly payments until the end of December, but normal payments in 2021.
Residents also have the option of registering for the COVID-19 TIPP, which would combine and spread 2020 and 2021 taxes.
This plan would take the 2020 balance owing plus an estimate of 2021 taxes and average the total amount until the end of 2021.
The COVID-19 TIPP provides the opportunity to spread the taxes from 10 to 16 months.
However, if the typical TIPP, or the COVID-19 TIPP, are not feasible for a family, the city is willing to arrange a customized payment plan.
“We’re looking at where we’re at for the 2020 year, considering where we’re at with COVID-19 and the economic impact for Alberta and the Calgary region. We started to think what if we took this year’s taxes, estimated next year’s taxes, and we spread it over two calendar years, from September to the end of 2021,” Hewko said.
“The idea would be taking it over two calendar years, making sure we’re still flexible, someone could sign up in September or December of this year, or even March of next year. The reason we went to March of next year, is because we’re being considerate of the utility tax deferral and the timing of that program,” she said.
If a Chestermere resident signed up for the program, they could also register for the electronic delivery of notices, would receive tax notices and assessment notices through email, and provide authorization to the city to withdraw funds.
If a resident does not have access to a computer or email, they will be able to phone the city and sign off on authorization to a family member.
“The philosophy is all about how to best support our taxpayers. At the end of 2021, when the COVID-19 program would be over, we would atomically roll over all of those participants into the regular TIPP,” Hewko said.
“It’s a good news story. It’s another option for our citizens,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers.