CR coun­cil goes af­ter over­due taxes

Vision (Canada) - - Actualites | News - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

Ci­ty staff will pro­vide some lo­cal pro­per­ty ow­ners in Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land, who are over­due on their taxes, with one more op­tion to clear their ac­counts and avoid a tax sale si­tua­tion.

Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land coun­cil ap­pro­ved By­law 2017-21, du­ring its Feb. 6 re­gu­lar session.

The by­law pro­vides ad­mi­nis­tra­tion and fi­nance de­part­ment staff with a new tax ad­mi­nis­tra­tion po­li­cy to try and set­tle some over­due pro­per­ty tax ac­counts.

The po­li­cy pro­vides Ci­ty Hall with a term­pay­ment op­tion, for pro­per­ty tax deb­tors, of up to a maxi­mum of five years for clea­ring their over­due ac­counts. Pro­per­ty ow­ners who ac­cept this op­tion are al­so re­qui­red to main­tain their re­gu­lar an­nual pro­per­ty tax pay­ments.

Counc. Ma­rio Zanth won­de­red if even the time-pay­ment op­tion would work for some over­due ac­counts.

“I think, when we get to ac­counts that are that far be­hind,” he said, “I think it’s too late.”

Coun. Zanth sug­ges­ted there should be a “thre­shold point” for an over­due ac­count, where the five-year re­pay­ment plan was not consi­de­red a viable op­tion and ci­ty staff would move on to the tax sale pro­cess ins­tead.

Fi­nance di­rec­tor Ro­bert Ke­hoe told coun­cil that the five-year re­pay­ment plan is ano­ther op­tion that the Ci­ty can consi­der for dea­ling with some over­due ac­counts.

He no­ted that Ci­ty staff have sent out re­gu­lar no­tices to all of the over­due ac­count hol­ders wi­thout suc­cess.

“Some of them are not get­ting the mes­sage,” Ke­hoe said.

He al­so no­ted that right now over­due pro­per­ty tax ac­counts are hit eve­ry months with a 1.5 per cent late-pe­nal­ty charge, which adds up to 15 per cent in ac­cu­mu­la­ted in­ter­est on the ac­count at the end of the year.

It would be chea­per, he ob­ser­ved, for over­due ac­count hol­ders to take out a bank loan at a lo­wer rate of in­ter­est to clear their over­due tax bills ra­ther than conti­nue to pay the month­ly ar­rears charge.

Ke­hoe al­so no­ted that the over­due ac­counts file in­cludes a mix of re­si­den­tial and com­mer­cial pro­per­ty hol­ders.

“We’ve got to of­fer a door to these people,” said mayor Guy Des­jar­dins, re­gar­ding the over­due tax debt si­tua­tion.

“I like the fact that they still have an op­tion,” said Coun. Carl Gri­mard.

Le per­son­nel de la Ci­té de Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land of­fri­ra aux pro­prié­taires dont les comptes d’im­pôt fon­cier sont en souf­france une op­tion de plus pour ré­gler leurs dettes

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