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City mulling property tax deadline extension

The City of Grande Prairie is working towards extending its property tax deadline for the second consecutive year. The move will push back the final day for payments for residential and non-residential property owners from the end of June until the end of August.

City councillors voted to get staff to draft up the necessary bylaw amendments and procedures at a Corporate Services meeting on Tuesday.

“Everybody recognizes that it’s been a tough year on residents and businesses and we want to make sure we’re giving appropriate support for them,” says Councillor Dylan Bressey.

In November, city councillors approved a zero per cent on average increase for property taxes in 2021.

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Bressey says it is as close to a net-zero increase as members of council could come up with, after rearranging several aspects of their budget to lessen the burden on taxpayers. He says that approach, with the potential deadline extension, could make a big difference.

“Cash flow is a real issue for a lot of our businesses right now, and if we can help with that, that could [help] lift burdens for a lot of our businesses last year,” he adds.

He adds while there traditionally isn’t a lot of wiggle room in municipal budgets, but to be able to help out those in need, especially during challenging times, remains a high priority.

“As a municipality, we collect about 10 per cent of taxes, we have about 65 per cent of public infrastructure, and we deliver the services that residents touch the most,” he adds.

It’s expected the amended bylaw will make its way back to a council meeting sometime in the spring when council officially sets the previously approved tax rate.

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