The City of White Rock is seeking public input on its 2020 financial plan, as amended to reflect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on taxpayers and city budgets. (File photo)

The City of White Rock is seeking public input on its 2020 financial plan, as amended to reflect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on taxpayers and city budgets. (File photo)

City of White Rock seeking feedback on financial plan

Extension on taxes, shortfalls to be funded from surpluses, deferred projects

White Rock council has given initial readings to a 2020 financial plan amended to reflect the multi-million dollar impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city budget – but also to give some relief to all taxpayers, offering the ability to defer taxes by three months to Sept. 30.

While it could have adopted the bylaw at Monday night’s meeting, council decided to to hold off for one week for public input – including written submissions – before giving a final vote on May 4.

After Coun. Erika Johanson questioned what was being done in place of a public hearing on the bylaw, chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill suggested that members of the public be allowed to communicate by email or correspondence and that “prior to making final adoption of the bylaw, you would have an opportunity to review those comments and questions.”

Bottrill also suggested that the deadline for written submission be noon on May. 4.

The financial plan is the basis for this year’s property tax and utility rates bylaw, which must be adopted before May 15.

READ ALSO: White Rock looking at 3.9% tax increase

Estimates summarized in a report to council by financial services director Colleen Ponzini show decreased revenues (including parking, facilities and program revenues, investment interest and business licences and permits) of some $3,096,600.

Offsetting this are expenses decreased by lack of activity due to the pandemic (including spending on parking services, recreation and programs, parks operation and planning) amounting to $1,299,600.

That leaves a total estimated net loss to August 2020 of $1,797,000 – which staff recommended come out of the city’s accumulated surplus reserve, reducing that by around 42 per cent for this year. Some $16 million in scheduled improvement projects will also have to be carried forward, Ponzini’s report said.

“Staff provided their best estimates, assuming that we are likely to be impacted until the end of August,” she told council.

The province has reduced its school tax mill rates to achieve an average 25 per cent reduction in commercial property taxes, and granted an extension allowing commercial taxpayers to defer tax payment until Sept. 30 with no penalty.

READ ALSO: B.C. budget heads into unknown deficit range preparing for COVID-19

Since city processes for billing taxes, levies and utility rates make it difficult to separate different classes of property, council also endorsed a staff recommendation of extending the Sept. 30 deadline to all taxpayers, including residential property owners.

The exception would be quarterly water utility payments, which are billed separately and for which council has already given a 60-day deadline extension.

The report suggested the change will create a cash-flow issue for the city, as it is likely that many taxpayers in all categories will use the extension, but added that this is partially offset by the province allowing school tax levies to be turned over by the end of December, instead of in August.

“We do believe we will be able to manage the delay with no other impacts,” Ponzini said.

“This is an estimate of what we believe is probably going to happen,” Bottrill cautioned.

“Reality is always going to be a little bit different than the estimate. At this point we are comfortable that these are pretty good numbers to move forward with.”



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $420,570 in grants for local arts, culture groups

This happened at Monday night’s council meeting, to cover 2021

Surrey native Dylan Kinley, shown here with the Douglas College Royals, has signed with the UFV Cascades. (Douglas Royals photo)
UFV Cascades sign Surrey native Dylan Kinley

Tweedsmuir grad, Douglas Royals star joins Abbotsford-based team for 2021-22

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
OUR VIEW: Surrey’s public hearings are for being heard

Surrey public hearings of late have been devolving into something less than intended

Surrey-raised actor Michael Coleman in some of the roles he’s played since the mid-1990s. (submitted photo)
Chat with Robin Williams helped send Surrey’s Coleman into world of acting

‘For me, it was a game-changer,’ says co-founder of Story Institute acting school

Friends and family of Paul Prestbakmo (from left: Barbara Calder, Leah Charles, Jimmy Slater, Angela Prestbakmo and Liz Prestbakmo) gather outside Surrey Provincial Court on Tuesday (Jan. 26, 2021). (Tracy Holmes photo)
South Surrey murder victim stabbed 42 times: pathologist

RCMP digital-evidence specialist also among witnesses

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Some of the fake gold sold by con artists in B.C. RCMP said there have been reports of the scam in Richmond, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Langley and New Westminster from Jan. 17 through Jan. 22 (RCMP)
‘Dubai gold’ scam is back in the Lower Mainland

If someone offers to sell gold jewelry at a bargain, it’s probably fake, police warn

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

The province is ensuring those eligible to receive the vaccine get the second shot within 42 days

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

Most Read