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Early payment incentive proposed for 2021

New penalty schedule under consideration

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – Mountain View County council has instructed administration to prepare amendments to the property tax administration bylaw that will provide for a one per cent early payment incentive and a 12 per cent annual penalty structure for late payments for the 2021 tax year.

“Currently our bylaw has a penalty of 0.5 per cent per month starting in December 2020,” corporate services director Robert Beaupertuis told council during a meeting last month.

“Administration would like to move to a quarterly penalty of 1.5 per cent per quarter in 2021. This will lessen the administrative burden on staff and provide more motivation for ratepayers to pay before a deadline.”

Administration would also like to increase the penalty structure, he said.

“This would given another year for the economy to stabilize,” he said. “As a benchmark, the current approximated penalty is six per cent, which is lower than some lines of unsecured credit and rational is that the penalty should be higher than those rates.”

Administration is proposing a new schedule: March 16 – two per cent; June 16 – six per cent; Sept. 16 – two per cent; Dec. 16 – two per cent.

Having the higher penalty in June is intended to encourage payment of accounts in arrears prior to entering the municipal tax recovery process, he said.

Administration is also proposing to continue to have an early incentive option in 2021, he said.

The 2020 incentive – one per cent on July 15 and 0.5 per cent on Aug. 15 – resulted in more than 50 per cent of property taxes paid early.

“It did cost the county $240,000, which was offset by $40,000 in extra interest revenue earned,” he said. “But based on the long-term projections, at a certain point in time, getting cash earlier than traditionally will save the county from line of credit costs.

“This cost would be greater than $200,000 in a typical interest rate environment. Administration believes that having a consistent incentive will help more ratepayers to partake of the program.”

The proposed amendments to the property tax administration bylaw will be brought back before council at the Wednesday, Nov. 18 meeting.