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Kamloops  

Mayor hasn't heard from province about property tax deferral

Economy a concern: mayor

The mayor of Kamloops says he hasn't heard anything from the province about deferring this year's property taxes, despite reaching out multiple times.

During Friday's COVID-19 media briefing outside city hall, Ken Christian reiterated that property tax deferral lies with the finance ministry, not with municipalities.

It's a "difficult" decision, he said.

"We want to do what’s right by the citizens of Kamloops, but again, we have a payroll to meet just like everybody else," Christian told reporters. "While it sounds good and council could be patted on the back for deferring utility fees and deferring taxes, at the end of the day, we have 750 employees that rely on us paying them every two weeks, just like many other businesses do."

He noted the city's finance committee is currently talking to the city's finance director, "to provide some recast of our budget so that we will be able to get back to work in this context and figure out where we are with the tax increase, where we are with taxation, where we are with utility billing."

City council has been eyeing a 2.76 per cent property tax increase for 2020. It's unclear how the pandemic will impact that number.

Christian said he knows Kamloops businesses are hurting.

"As we speak about COVID-19 and the public health crisis that it's created, the wave behind that is an economic crisis. I'm very concerned for the local economy," he said. "I'm very concerned for those that rely on the hospitality and tourism sector."



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