City Council today approved a property-tax relief package and water payment grace period for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Property owners will have a grace period for payment of interim property taxes and will not incur a penalty if they were unable to pay before the deadline of March 19. The grace period will extend the deadline to Wednesday, April 15. The interim property tax bill covers 50 per cent of the entire property tax bill.
Council also approved the 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral program to assist qualifying residents as well as businesses that have an assessed property value of up to $7.5 million. The assessed property value criteria of up to $7.5 million captures 91 per cent of all commercial properties in Ottawa. The program extends both the interim property tax deadline (March 19) and the final property tax deadline (June 18) to Friday, October 30.
The City will provide relief to residents who receive a water bill, adding an interest-free 30-day payment grace period on all unpaid water bills issued before Wednesday, April 1. For water bills issued between Wednesday, April 1 and Friday, October 30, the City will grant a 30-day extension on the due date. These measures will provide residents 47 days to pay their bill. Those on pre-authorized payment plans with water bills issued between April 1 and October 30 will also have their due dates extended and no action is required. The City has extended suspension of all water service disconnections until October 30.
Additionally, all unpaid Corporate Accounts Receivable invoices that the City issued before Wednesday, April 1 will have an extra 30 days to pay, interest free. All Corporate Accounts Receivable invoices issued between Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 30 will also have a 30-day due-date extension.
More details on the programs and the qualifying criteria are available on ottawa.ca.
Council declared the Office of Councillor for Cumberland Ward to be vacant. Council approved interim delegations of authority to Orléans Ward Councillor Matthew Luloff, Osgoode Ward Councillor George Darouze and Innes Ward Councillor Laura Dudas to help provide support on matters related to Cumberland Ward until a new Councillor is sworn in and takes Office.
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, Council did not set a date for a by-election but instead directed staff to report back to Council within 60 days to present options and timelines for filling the vacancy. The former Councillor for the Ward, Stephen Blais, resigned the position earlier in March following a successful run to sit as a Member of Provincial Parliament.
Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency in the City of Ottawa, which was followed by a verbal update on the COVID-19 pandemic by Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches. More detail about the state of emergency can be found on ottawa.ca.
Council directed staff to provide rental adjustments or any businesses that rent space within a City facility that has closed in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The adjustment will reflect the amount of time these facilities remain closed.