The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) is asking the province to expand the Property Tax Deferral Program to cover all residential taxpayers.
The tax deferral program is now available only for home owner 55 year or over, for disabled or for families with children under 18.
UBCM wants the province to allow an expansion of the program for all homeowners.
“An expanded program would mitigate the risk of delinquencies, and provide a greater degree of certainty for budgeting and long-term financial planning,” UBCM said in a letter to the province.
The risk of delinquencies amongst residential and commercial property taxpayers remains high as the economic fallout from the pandemic mounts, according to UBCM.
UBCM said local governments were particularly concerned about their finances for the next few years.
Loss of non-taxation revenue and tax delinquencies will hinder the ability of local governments to advance capital projects, UBCM said.
Local governments would also find it difficult to maintain existing essential services, and pay back reserves without significant property tax increases in the years ahead, UBCM added.
UBCM also wants the BC government to invest in local transit. The decrease in ridership had impacted revenues and threatened the financial sustainability of existing service levels, UBCM said.
Transit is a service critical to supporting local economic recoveries, and UBCM’s members are looking for provincial funding assistance to support the sustainability of transit in their communities.
UBCM is seeking an economic recovery stimulus funding from the government, which can increase employment and boost local businesses.