St. Catharines implements new measures to combat rising financial pressure

The St. Catharines City Council is continuing its efforts to support residents and businesses in coping with rising financial pressures as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During a special meeting last Friday, the council implemented a number of changes to help residents and businesses with the costs of service fees and city taxes. The approved changes, which have already been made effective are as follows:

  • Deferring the April 30 interim tax instalment to June 30
  • Waiving tax penalty and interest charges until Jun. 30
  • Waiving water and wastewater penalty and interest charges until Jun. 30
  • Waiving accounts receivable penalty and interest charges until Jun. 30
  • Waiving charges for any cheques or pre-authorized payments returned for non-sufficient funds or payments stopped by the payer
  • Amending the 2020 final tax levy instalment dates to July 31 and October 30
  • Deferring the 2020 water and wastewater increase from April 1 to Jul. 1
  • Limiting parking enforcement to safety-related issues (including but not limited to fire routes, accessible parking, no-parking areas and fire hydrants) until Jun. 30.
  • Waiving payment for on-street parking, municipal parking lots and garages
  • Suspending any water service disconnections for non-payment of water and wastewater billings until Jun. 30
  • Waiving late fees for 2020 dog licences
  • Waiving late fees for 2020 general business licences

The council has also requested that the entire Region of Niagara defer similar payments by 90 days. According to the council, this is similar to the June and September school board tax payment deferrals that were announced over the last week by the province of Ontario. 

“As we continue to navigate increasingly unprecedented times, the effects of COVID-19 are placing extreme challenges on our residents and the local business community,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik. “We know this is a stressful time for everyone and hope providing our community additional time to pay, without penalties or interest, will provide some relief. This is the right thing to do to support our community during this time.”

Residents who desire to pay their taxes, water and wastewater fees on their original due dates have several options for payment. These options include by mail, online banking or via the St. Catharines City Hall drop box. Pre-authorized payments for tax instalments have been deferred until June 30 but monthly pre-authorized payments will continue unless suspended in writing by the payer. The City will likewise continue to process pre-authorized payments for water, unless suspended in writing by the payer.

The City continues to monitor the situation as it evolves and will continue to implement measures as required.

To stay updated on the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.stcatharines.ca/COVID19. Additionally, residents can use the City’s online e-bill portal to access water and tax information. A link to the portal, and information on how to register, is available at www.stcatharines.ca/ebilling. Details about the tax payment options available to residents can be found at www.stcatharines.ca/paymentoptions.

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