City Provides Relief During COVID-19
The City of Castlegar is supporting the community as it navigates through the impacts of COVID-19.
Council met last week and today to discuss what actions the City could take to support people and businesses who are struggling. The City itself has been forced to revisit its budget and overall financial position given the suspension of flights at the West Kootenay Regional Airport and reduction in gaming revenue as a result of COVID-19.
“Since municipal governments cannot run a deficit, Council committed to doing as much as it can within the powers we have,” says Mayor Bruno Tassone “We recognize times are tough so we’re taking action and will continue to look for additional savings so we can provide financial relief for the people and businesses of Castlegar.”
The City is helping the community by:
- Removing property tax penalties for 2 months, giving those who need more time until August 31 (rather than July 1) to pay;
- Extending the payment deadline for upcoming utility bills (by 2 months) to July 15;
- Waiving late utility bill penalties for 2019 and the first two utility bills of 2020;
- Increasing the base monthly water consumption for residential uses by 10 cubic metres until May 31 and exploring a further extension;
- Setting aside $16,000 for community groups providing on-the-ground and critical services to seniors, the homeless and vulnerable populations;
- Focusing on the City’s finances, including:
- Reducing non-essential costs, including summer students, operating supplies, conferences and training, deferring the hiring of new positions, events and other non-essential activities.
- Examining the budget throughout the year to realize additional savings
- Transferring all savings into a Revenue Stabilization Reserve to offset losses and ensure the City remains in a strong financial position and able to support the community throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
- Committing to reducing tax rates in 2021 with any remaining funds from the Revenue Stabilization reserve; and
- Participating in the Castlegar & District Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Recovery Task Force and providing up to $10,000, if required.
The City also plans to send a letter to the federal and provincial governments asking for support to offset lost revenue at the West Kootenay Regional Airport.
For more information on the City’s response to COVID-19 visit castlegar.ca/covid19.
The City of Castlegar is a service centre in the West Kootenay. The diversified and growing economy is focused on the forestry, energy and mining sectors in the valley, and commercial services in the City. Quality of life features backcountry adventure and an increasingly dynamic urban culture, including the Millennium Park & Ponds and Sculpture Walk.
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