Huron-Kinloss council voted in favour of waiving penalties on “general receivables and the 2020 interim tax installments until Sept. 1 … and to extend the due date for the third installment to Oct. 1.”
Treasurer Jodi MacArthur presented a report outlining a number of measures taken as a result of COVID-19, including the recommendation that tax penalties be waived.
MacArthur said her department has undertaken more frequent payment of accounts to ensure suppliers are paid as quickly as possible. Vendors are being encouraged to sign up for electronic transfer of funds. Electronic timesheets and pay stubs for workers have been implemented.
In addition, the department is reviewing cyber security measures and updating the township’s cash management strategy and investment portfolio for protection from market fluctuations.
MacArthur told council that the first tax installment was due March 1, and the township has submitted payments to the county and board of education.
She noted “a lot of people want to continue (with the next installment due June 1) as is,” but waiving the penalty would offer relief for those awaiting EI (employment insurance), while allowing us to maintain our cash flow … We would also waive further penalty on any general receivables.” MacArthur noted in response to a council comment that the waiving of penalties would be for the present year only, not arrears from previous years.
Property owners on pre-authorized payment plans will have their payments withdrawn as scheduled unless notification is received by the township to revise their plan.
MacArthur said staff is aware some budget projections for the year will not be met, and have prioritized operating and capital projects to look for savings. She estimated the losses from waiving the penalty and interest would amount to approximately $25,000.
Coun. Ed McGuggan commented, “It’s important to make that effort, to give people a bit of a break – I like what you’ve done here.”