Municipalities Expect Most Homeowners in British Columbia to Pay Property Taxes Despite COVID-19

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Parking fees and fines for a city like Vancouver can be a significant source of revenue, up to $ 80 million or about 5% of its operating budget.

Casinos continue to be closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so there is no revenue to share in the province.

Coquitlam expects to face an operating budget deficit of around $ 5 million next year and expects to have to cut spending on capital projects, which has long-term implications for a community, noted Hunt.

Like other communities, Coquitlam has already made adjustments to its workforce to reduce costs.

Vancouver, the largest community in British Columbia with the largest operating and capital budget, has also had to downsize its workforce and services. It faces a deficit in its operating budget of $ 120 million this year and recently voted to reduce its five-year capital plan by more than $ 220 million.

“We have always been worried. That’s why we’ve extended the payment deadline, ”said Vancouver City Councilor Adriane Carr. “But we really expect the vast majority will pay by the end of the month.”

The federal and British Columbia governments are providing assistance to municipalities due to the pandemic, up to $ 540 million to support local government operations, according to the Union of BC Municipalities.

The funding is welcome, municipalities say, but it should not fill the gaps for local governments whose operating budgets in British Columbia totaled more than $ 8.6 billion in 2018 and have grown since.

Municipalities face difficult choices to raise tax rates and / or cut services to try to balance their budgets, says Tom Davidoff, professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

He believes it would make sense for the federal and provincial governments to use their borrowing power to help local governments.

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