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Apr 24, 2020

Ladysmith Council Notebook for April 21, 2020

Ladysmith Council met for a Special Meeting on April 21, 2020 with the highlights being a decision on 2020 property taxes and an extension of the penalty date for payments to provide relief in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The virtual meeting was streamed live on the Town's YouTube channel.

The meeting opened with Mayor Stone expressing his condolences on behalf the Town and Council to the people of Nova Scotia for the tragedy that occurred in their province over the weekend.

Mayor Stone gave a brief statement and read out the names of the 22 victims who were killed in what is the deadliest shooting in Canadian history.

Next, Council moved on to budget discussions and approved extending the penalty date for property taxes to October 1, 2020.

Property owners will receive a tax bill in the mail instructing them to pay by July 2 but a penalty will not be incurred on any unpaid account balance until after the October date.

Staff presented several scenarios to Council for adjusting the municipal portion of property taxes to balance the loss of revenues from COVID-19 and the resulting provincial health orders and recommendations.

Council approved a property tax increase of 1.92% after trimming out some expenditures that had received approval last winter during budget workshop discussions.

The deadline is May 15 for Council to adopt the bylaws establishing property tax rates for the coming year. 

Council then approved a request from the Holland Creek Strata Plan EPS2569 for garbage, water and sewer billing to be billed individually.

Staff will now amend the applicable bylaws to reflect the quarterly billing to each respective homeowner in the strata.

Next, Councillor Virtanen brought forward a motion under new business to have staff examine potential opportunities for the Town to celebrate the Ladysmith Secondary School 2020 grad class.

Commencement ceremonies have been cancelled as of right now due to COVID-19.

Council gave approval and directed staff to contact the grad committee, LSS parent advisory committee as well as the school district on how the Town could help publicly honour our local grads.

Councillor Paterson brought forward a motion that Mayor Stone send a letter to the Cowichan Valley Regional District requesting an immediate move to summer hours at the Peerless Road Recycling Centre.

The facility has remained on winter hours as the CVRD effectively manages staff availability as well as multiple other factors related to COVID-19 including closures and slowdowns of processing facilities in the United States, and the availability of hauling contractors.

Access to CVRD recycling centres is currently limited to 10 vehicles on site at a time, in order to ensure physical distance requirements that comply with WorkSafeBC and provincial health recommendations.

The public is asked to avoid non-essential visits to CVRD recycling facilities at this time and to items such as yard waste at home.

The next Special Meeting of Council is scheduled for May 5 at 7 p.m.

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