Nipawin deferring utility payments, changing taxes

NIPAWIN—Nipawin utility bills may be deferred until Sept. 27, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was decided in a special meeting of Nipawin council on March 27.

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While utility bills can be deferred, they can also be paid as normal.

“We may need to revisit this, but this is where we are at for the moment,” said Rennie Harper, Nipawin’s mayor.

“There’s not a lot municipalities can do. Utilities and taxes are primarily those.”

Due to the deferral, the turnoff of municipal water due to non-payment of invoices has been suspended. All deferred payments would be expected by Dec. 31.

Harper said she held conversations with multiple businesses about how the town can best help them during this time.

As a result of these conversations, the Nipawin 2020 budget has been rewrote, removing the property tax levy increase of 2.94 per cent.

For the missing funds, the town will be using their stabilization reserve.

“This will result in a zero per cent tax increase for the entire community for this year, and that way we will have an impact on not only business, but we will also be able to impact the residents of our community.”

Harper said the town had been trying to do a continuous, modest tax increase each year based on the cost of living increases within the country. This change breaks that continuation.

“When you go back to zero that means the possibility is that down the road you might need a bit more of a tax increase, but that isn’t necessarily so. I think we need to play things by ear.”

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