Homeowners will soon have to pay their property taxes, as Erin council has approved collection dates.
The interim tax levy bylaw will provide about $3.8 million for town purposes, $7.7 million to the County of Wellington and $2.4 million to the different school boards for a total tax amount of $13.8 million, according to staff reports.
“I have said at the county (council), I have wished they collect their own taxes,” said Mayor Allan Alls. “It would make it a lot easier on us, so we wouldn’t have to take the hit on it.”
Council approval was required to enable the town to bill and collect the 2021 interim tax levy.
The town can collect up to 50 per cent of last year’s tax levy as per the Municipal Act.
Alls asked councillors if they want to delay tax collection for a couple of months, as they did in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, or if they want to go back to the status quo and resume collection.
The town surveyed all municipalities in Wellington County, with none of them providing a break for any interest or penalties.
“Similarly, a lot of the municipalities will opt-in not to forgive any interest or penalties,” said Ursula D'Angelo, director of finance. “We have seen an increase in our tax receivables.”
The interim tax levy has two instalments dates, of March 31, 2021, and May 31, 2021. The interest rate will remain the same as it has in the past.
“I would like to remind members of council there are options for monthly payments where they are divided into 10 equal instalments other than the quarterly instalments,” said D'Angelo. “There is always that option, where they can sign up for the pre-authorized payments plan.”
If taxes are not paid on the due date, a penalty of 1.25 per cent will be charged on the first day of each month until paid. The interest of 1.25 per cent per month, or 15 per cent per annum, is charged on all arrears of taxes as of Jan 1.
Neither the treasurer nor the tax department staff has the authority to waive the penalty charges. Tax payments are applied to the penalty and interest charges due to the taxes starting with the oldest year.
Coun. John Brennan suggested the town monitor what the county does.
“If there’s a countywide initiative to push back the dates for a month or so, then we can revisit it at that point,” said Brennan.
Alls, who serves as a councillor at the County of Wellington, has not heard any discussion of a pushback, noting they have already passed a budget.
“The county has gone from, since I’ve been mayor, 55 per cent of the total take to 58 per cent,” said Alls. “They are getting a healthy share of what we raised.”
Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner