City Extends And Adds Recovery Support
Kitchener extends financial and economic recovery supports for residents & businesses
City announces new supports
KITCHENER – Earlier today, Kitchener City Council approved extending immediate short-term economic relief measures to support residents and businesses for an additional 30 days. To help offer some financial flexibility to those significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City will be waiving penalties and interest on property taxes, late payment charges on utility bills and invoices, and non-sufficient fund (NSF) fee charges for the month of June 2020.
In addition, City Council approved additional relief and support for residents and business including:
- an application-based property tax deferral program. The new program, which will launch in June, will allow residents and businesses to apply to extend 2020 final property tax bill due dates by 60 days.
- the suspension of utility disconnection and collection activities up to and including August 31, 2020.
- waiving temporary sign permit fees up to and including December 31, 2020.
- authorizing that the City can offer rent deferrals for tenants leasing city facilities where significant financial loss or operating impacts can be demonstrated due to COVID-19.
“There is no question that the pandemic has caused substantial economic uncertainty and financial strain for our community’s residents and business,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “While the financial tools we can provide as a municipality are somewhat limited, we are doing everything we can to support our community. These new measures strike the right balance between needing to continue to provide relief for our community while, at the same time, taking into consideration the City’s financial realities.”
These latest economic relief measures build on the previously announced City supports and are significant, representing $2 million in direct, unbudgeted support by the City of Kitchener. To date, through a similar set of economic relief measures announced in late March, the City has been able to provide financial flexibility and support to approximately 5,000 property owners (6 per cent of property tax accounts) and 15,000 utility customers (17 per cent of utility accounts) through enabling deferred tax and utility payments.
“Initially, it was important to respond quickly with broad economic measures to ensure that immediate relief was provided to the community,” said Councillor Scott Davey, chair of the City’s finance committee. “We’ve seen now that many people didn’t require support and continued to have the ability to pay their taxes and utilities. That’s great news, but we know that some in our community do continue to struggle financially. This next level of support builds on those earlier measures to ensure there are options for further relief for those who need it most.”
The City is committed to supporting the business community through the Business and Economic Support Team in Waterloo Region (BESTWR) by continuing to deploy economic development programs and advocating for future economic support from federal and provincial levels of government. In partnership with the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, the City will be launching the Small Business Recovery Outreach Program throughout the month of May to connect directly with impacted businesses. The program will offer personalized, one-to-one support to businesses on an on-demand basis.
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