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City of Powell River extends borrowing bylaw to cover possible revenue shortfalls in 2021

Revenue anticipation bylaw ensures adequate funds will be in hand, says finance committee chair
BACKUP LOAN: City councillor George Doubt recently outlined Powell River’s revenue anticipation borrowing bylaw, which allows the city to borrow up to $14.5 million if anticipated taxes are not collected as expected.

City of Powell River council approved its annual revenue anticipation borrowing bylaw, which allows the city to borrow up to $14.5 million to cover any shortfalls in revenue in 2021.

At the April 15 city council meeting, councillors unanimously approved the bylaw, which allows council to borrow up to 75 per cent of the amount of taxes levied in the preceding year.

Councillor George Doubt, who chairs the city’s finance committee, said this is a bylaw to create bridge financing to make sure the city has enough cash in hand to pay its expenses while collecting this year’s taxes.

“It authorizes the city to borrow up to $14.5 million, which is less than three-quarters of the whole amount of taxes levied for all purposes in 2020,” said Doubt. “The amount would be paid back from this year’s taxes and unpaid taxes when they are collected. The hope would be not to have to use this but it’s there in case it takes us some time to collect the tax money and make sure we have enough money to pay for services the city will provide.”

Mayor Dave Formosa said there needs to be awareness that the city is still in COVID-19 times and so there could be another slow collection of taxes again this year. He said he didn’t know if the city had heard whether the provincial government is going to be offering leeway or relief like it did last year. He asked chief administrative officer Russell Brewer if he had heard anything along those lines.

Brewer said he had not heard anything as of yet but he expects on the next call with minister of municipal affairs Josie Osborne it will come up as a topic.

Formosa said hopefully, the provincial government will do what it did last year again this year because taxpayers have not popped out of COVID-19.

“It’s still a big issue so I hope there is something there,” said Formosa.

In 2020, City of Powell River extended the time taxpayers could pay their city taxes without penalty, extending the deadline from July 2 to the end of September.