Centre Wellington Township’s committee of the whole approved in principal several recommendations from its treasurer regarding borrowing and tax collecting on Dec. 8.
Treasurer Wes Snarr said that the issues are mostly housekeeping ones, such as the interim tax levy.
That allows council to set a collection date for the first tax installment prior to having its budget passed.
The due date of first property tax installment for residential properties is Feb. 27, and the second due date is April 30. Council also heard that if all goes well, it could pass its budget by March 9.
The amount to be levied on the first two 2009 installments will be equal to 50% of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied in 2008. Since there are four installments, each one of the first two will be 25% of the previous year’s total, and the final two bills will include any tax increase.
In the meantime, Snarr also asked for the annual borrowing bylaw to be passed. That would allow council to borrow up to $12,014,800 between Jan. 1, and Sept. 30 next year, and $6,007,400 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 to meet the 2009 current expenditures of the township.
But Snarr said while it is normal to pass such a bylaw each year, he would be surprised if the township ever had to use that power.
“We certainly won’t in the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’ve never had that cash flow issue” and the township has never used that right to borrow for emergencies.
Snarr did recommend one change to the way taxes are being collected for a couple of property types.
Snarr said in his report to council that the interim levy bylaws had one item that is different this year because the township had implemented new computer software.
He said that would affect the 320 township properties with “mixed” assessment. That usually means commercial buildings with apartments above them.
Snarr explained that industrial, commercial, and multi-residential properties (apartment buildings) include capped and non-capped tax classes.
Last year, the commercial and residential uses for those 320 properties were billed on a single tax bill with four installments.
“A common example of this would be a downtown shop with an apartment on the second floor,” he explained, and added, “Staff have learned from experience through the 2008 tax billing cycle that reconciling the tax billings becomes a much more complex and time consuming task with the inclusion of a ‘mixed’ billing, and further it was found that the affected property owners were divided in their preference for mixed versus separate billings.”
He said about half the property owners do not mind receiving a single tax bill, but the other half wants separate bills for rental properties. He added that with the new computer systems the township is using, it can easily accommodate people with the mixed class properties, and will send them separate bills to make it easier for their own bookkeeping.
The taxes levied under the bylaw for assessment in the commercial, industrial and multi-residential tax classes are payable in two equal installments, more or less, and the dates for payment are March 31 for the first installment, and the second on May 29.