More homeowner grants have gone unclaimed this year for Salmon Arm residents than in previous years.
At council’s July 26 meeting, discussion revolved around whether the increase is due to the change in the way people had to claim the grant this year.
In years past, property owners filled out a form on the tax bill the city collects. This year, it was handled by the provincial government and people could do an online application or apply over the phone.
The city’s chief financial officer, Chelsea Van de Cappelle, noted there were long waits on the phone lines.
She said the city sent out information regarding the change in a number of ways in hopes of reaching everyone. It’s difficult to determine why so many were unclaimed as other factors affect the total, she said, but it could be due to the application process.
Mayor Alan Harrison noted there were 437 homeowner grants not claimed this year, compared to 162 in 2020. People can still apply for their grant.
Harrison inquired about the penalties and was told homeowners have until Dec. 31 of this year to pay outstanding tax without interest growing beyond the 10 per cent that will be calculated from the July 2 deadline.
If taxes have not been paid after two years, the property goes to a tax sale.
Harrison asked if the city has any power to waive fees.Van de Cappelle said no, that’s provincial jurisdiction.
He thanked city staff for their work, noting many times he has heard staff explaining to citizens the difference in the homeowner grant this year.
Last year, due to the pandemic, council extended the deadline for property taxes to Sept. 30. This year taxes were due on July 2 as usual.
Regarding taxes in general, Van de Cappelle said the city collected about two per cent less property tax by the due date this year compared to 2020 and 2019, with about $1 million more in taxes outstanding. This year 93.3 per cent or $33.6 million was collected by the due date, as opposed to 95.8 per cent in 2020, totalling $32.6 million.
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