The COVID-19 emergency and the unprecedented efforts of all levels of government, businesses and citizens to respond to it are having real impacts on Haldimand County residents and businesses in terms of income, employment, quality of life and convenience. In an effort to reduce the financial burden and inconvenience imposed on Haldimand residents and businesses as a result of implementing the directions of public health officials to try to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Haldimand County has put in place measures to mitigate service fees and charges.
Effective immediately and on a go forward basis, Haldimand County Council has directed that for those unable to meet the March 31 and May 29 tax installment deadlines, the County will waive the penalty charge associated with late payment. As such citizens and businesses have increased flexibility to defer the payment of property taxes until August 1, 2020 without penalty.
Statement from the Mayor & Council – March 19, 2020
In these unprecedented times people come together, governments come together, countries come together. The efforts that have been seen from leaders, from the business community, to the countless donations and help from the very many unselfish people around us is a true testament that when pushed, we roll up our sleeves and find ways to help each other back to the lives we all deserve to enjoy.
COVID-19 is having a real impact on the lives of Canadians beyond health related matters. It is affecting incomes, employment and quality of life. In response we are seeing higher level governments putting together substantial monetary packages to help lessen the burden on citizens and businesses that are following the advice of health officials. We eagerly await announcements on how that money will reach those in need. The long-term economic and social impacts that COVID-19 will have on our daily lives is still difficult to determine, however, all financial supports announced to date have been to only address the immediate massive hole in our local economies. I have never seen governments move as fast as they have in the past two weeks and in such a non-partisan fashion to ensure necessary supports will be provided.
In an effort to play an active role in helping our County citizens and business that are facing economic challenges given these unprecedented circumstances, Council and I have directed staff to waive the interest costs and any fees attached to the next two property tax instalments, March 31 and May 29. Haldimand County property owners can pay their taxes at their own discretion up until August 1st without penalty. We hope that this will provide you with the flexibility to manage your day to day to finances and afford you the time you may require.
In Haldimand, we will soon be finalizing our tax-supported operating budget. Council has directed staff to carefully review the 2020 budget so that is sensitive and responsive to these strange times we are living in. Over the past several years, staff have worked diligently to ensure our financial position is strong and ready for unforeseen challenges. For this reason, we are ready to respond.
I want to assure you that both staff and Council have been working to protect your interests, to ensure that the quality services you are accustomed to continue, and that our frontline EMS staff are fully equipped with all the resources needed to meet your needs.
I would like to take this time to acknowledge those within the Haldimand-Norfolk Health & Social Services, the H-N Health Unit and our first responders for their leadership in helping Council manage our response to the COVID-19 virus. On behalf of the County and Council, we sincerely thank you for being there in times of need, never more so demonstrated than today.
Mayor Ken Hewitt
Haldimand County Council