City staff, residents work to ease tax pain on poor
A group of concerned citizens has four months to develop a report with "creative" options on how to help people, especially those living in poverty, pay their back taxes.
City council spent most of its meeting discussing the issue last night.
Paul Chislett is one of the members of the group which will work on the report with assistance from the city's finance department. He says the 15-per-cent penalty rate charged on tax arrears is too high.
Chislett says the group will look at all possibilities on what can be done to provide the help people need:
"If you get people together having discussions about their situations, we can figure things out," Chislett said.
The city is owed approximately $45 million in back taxes. At least 95 per cent of the people do pay their taxes on time, the city says.
Coun. Drew Dilkens supports the motion passed by council. He's anxious to see what the group comes up with.
Dilkens say he will not support any motion to reduce the penalty rate:
"Whatever this group decides to recommend, it's going to have to be very compelling," Dilkens said.
During the four months that the concerned group of citizens is working on its report and recommendations, the city will not issue any new tax liens.