April 9, 2020
Council Highlights provide a snapshot of the progress made on City programs, initiatives and on Council decision-making. For more information on each initiative, please visit the accompanying link where noted. The items are selected highlights from the April 2, 9 and 16, 2020 Council Meetings. To review all the topics discussed, click here to see the full agenda and webcast.
Please note: Council meetings are webcast live and archived. Based on recommendations by public health officials, as of March 19:
- Council has suspended the holding of public hearings in accordance with the Class Order on COVID-19 from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer until further notice.
- Council has also suspended the question period sections of Council meeting agendas for in-person participation.
- Requests to address Council will be limited to six delegations through either telephone participation, where possible, and the reading out of submissions and/or broadcasting of recorded submissions, if necessary.
COVID-19 Update – Vulnerable Populations
Council directed staff to act immediately to deploy resources, facilities and personnel to meet the emergency lodging and support needs of vulnerable populations, while meeting protocols required by Island Health, working in partnership with other agencies. Initial priority will be given to the provision of shower facilities for people currently sheltering on Pandora Avenue, through the re-opening of existing shower facilities at Our Place, Crystal Pool or Royal Athletic Park or any other suitable locations.
2020 Financial Plan – Potential Adjustments
Council made amendments to the 2020 Financial Plan to deliver a financial relief package to help those in the community who may be experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Reduce the transfer from property taxes by $4.68 million to be proportionally allocated between the Heavy Equipment, City Equipment and Building and Infrastructure reserves to reduce the property tax increase to zero per cent for 2020
- Defer some capital projects and previously approved initiatives
- Reallocate $11.64 million in unrestricted property tax funding from the deferred capital projects to offset actual and potential revenue shortfalls in the operating budget
- Create a larger operating budget contingency using the funding allocated to the delayed initiatives
- Extend the payment due date for utility bills to 90 days from 45 days
- Extend the payment due date for property taxes to August 4, 2020 to align with the date the City is required to pay the property taxes levied on behalf of the Capital Regional District, the Capital Regional Hospital District, BC Assessment, and the Municipal Finance Authority
- Amend the Alternate Tax Scheme Bylaw and adjust the penalties to 2 per cent per month for August, September, October, November and December for 2020
The list of capital and operating projects deferrals and delays discussed by Council are on pages 7 and 9 respectively in the Committee of the Whole Report here.
On behalf of Council, the Mayor will advocate to the Province of BC to:
- Increase amounts for Homeowner Grants, and create a new category of grant applicable to persons who have lost income due to the pandemic
- Reinstate the financial hardship Deferment Program and extend the program to commercial properties
- Amend legislation to align payment due dates for taxes collected on behalf of other agencies with municipal Alternative Tax Scheme Bylaws
Adjustments to Parking Fees due to COVID-19 Impacts
For the duration of the provincial state of emergency, the City will make the following adjustments to parking fees:
- reduce rates in all parkades as follows:
- Daily rate - $1 per hour to a maximum of $5, with the first hour free
- Monthly rate - $85
- Reduce on-street metered rates to $1 per hour
- Reduce parking lot rates to $1 per hour with a $5 daily maximum
- Suspend enforcement of time-limited zones, except for 30-minute zones
Agreement Amendment for the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program
Council has authorized the City to amend the existing contribution agreement for a term of two years until March 31, 2022 with the Province of British Columbia, the BC Hydro and Power Authority, and FortisBC Energy Inc to provide additional funds towards the CleanBC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program, on behalf of the City.