The city is mailing out 2020 property tax notices this week. Given provincial health orders and recommendations relating to physical distancing, paying taxes online or remotely rather than in person – if possible – is not merely a convenience; it is in the interest of public health.
The city is encouraging residents to visit www.princegeorge.ca/taxes to learn about the variety of ways taxes can be paid remotely:
- Online banking: banks and credit unions that offer payment services provide the opportunity to pay tax bills online, through telephone banking, or in-person.
- By mail to City Hall
- PayTM Canada: property taxes may be paid by credit card using the PayTM Canada mobile app. Credit cards are not accepted at the City Hall Service Centre.
Property taxes are due by July 3.
Taxes paid to the City of Prince George fund the majority of the city’s operations and services, such as road and sidewalk rehabilitation, snow clearing, and police and fire rescue services. The remaining revenues typically come from various sources such as user fees, the rental of civic facilities, off-street parking, and permits related to new developments and construction.
Provincial health orders issued in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic have greatly affected civic operations since March and are responsible for reducing revenues to the city of nearly $1.3 million per month.
Paying at the Service Centre
The service centre at City Hall remains open with physical distancing measures in place. Those who choose to visit the Service Centre to pay their property taxes, are asked to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and recommended practices. Hand sanitizer must be used upon entering City Hall and physical distancing markers are indicated on the floor. Please note that cash payments will be accepted, but are discouraged at this time.
The city is also continuing its practice of encouraging residents to reserve the first hour of each workday (8:30-9:30 a.m., Monday to Friday) at the service centre for seniors and people with mobility challenges or compromised immune systems. Due to the anticipated increase in customers visiting the service centre during “tax season,” the city of Prince George is once again increasing the number of visitor parking stalls available to visitors from now until July 3.
City budget amendments
In the past month, council has made significant adjustments to the city budget and 2020 tax levy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council reduced the tax levy increase nearly by half from a 3.44 per cent increase approved prior to the pandemic to 1.75 per cent.
Council has approved various measures related to the 2020 budget, property taxes, and utility billing:
- Deferring nearly $25 million in capital projects.
- Eliminating the 10 per cent penalty on late sewer, water, and solid waste utility payments for the period of July 1 to December 31, 2020.
- Cost of living increases have been frozen for the Mayor, Members of Council, and City management.
Service enhancements aimed at improving safety, cleanliness, and security downtown are proceeding in 2020. These include providing for additional police, security, and bylaw services personnel for the area; funding for homeless service hubs; and increased resources for removing illegal camps and dumpsites.