Municipal tax deferrals to help ease financial strain during COVID-19 crisis

Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)


Prince Edward County Residents will now be able to find some financial relief during the COVID-19 crisis thanks to the municipality’s utility and property tax deferrals. Mayor Steve Ferguson made this announcement on April 3rd, along with stating no water/wastewater user would be cut off from such services, despite being unable to pay, during these unprecedented times.

Giving a nod to the unfathomable changes in many of our daily routine, Ferguson acknowledged the difficulty many in the County are facing.

“We’re being forced to do things differently and less conveniently, but we have no choice,” he said. “I understand these emergency measures have created unprecedented challenges in our community. Many of you are struggling and the County is doing everything it can to help.”

In order to mitigate the economic impacts of this ongoing crisis, Ferguson stated, the June and September property tax due dates have been deferred. The new due dates are now September 15th and November 16th.

“For utility bills, penalty and interest will not be charged on water and wastewater bills for the remainder of 2020. Also, the municipality will not be disconnecting water and wastewater users for non-payment this year,” added Ferguson.

In his statement, he urged those who are able need to continue to pay their bills so that those struggling can be helped adequately.

“We’re a small community, only about 25,000 people and we’re trying to do our part. If you are still employed or you have the ability to pay your tax or water bills, please continue to do so,” he said. “That will ensure that we can continue to be there for those who are not in the same position.”

Ferguson also urged residents, if they are able, to support local businesses where possible.

Furthermore, Ferguson iterated that these are the initial steps taken in line with the aid packages provided by the federal and provincial governments, but that “we’re not going to stop here”.

“When we emerge from this immediate crisis and move into the recovery phase- and we will-we will be here to help local businesses. The outlook is bleak right now, but I am hopeful. Our people are resourceful, entrepreneurial and hard working. We will bounce back,” stated Ferguson.

According to his statement, the municipality is committed to working with their partners in the business community to develop a long term plan to get the County back on its feet.

“We’re working with the Chamber of Commerce, the BIAs, and other business associations to find creative solutions to plan for the eventual recovery,” noted Ferguson. “We’re also working with the provincial and federal governments to keep them informed about the County’s specific needs.”

In his speech, Ferguson took a few moments to express his gratitude to front-line workers and reinforced the need to stay home when at all possible.

“I also want to express my thanks to everyone working on the front lines to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our community. There’s so much good work being done here in the County and we truly are all in this together,” he emphasized “Please respect people working the front lines to keep you safe. Stay home now so we can all enjoy each others company in person when physical distancing restrictions are lifted.”

After delivering his good news, Ferguson noted the good will and caring nature of this community, especially during times of crisis, are what gives him hope.

“The ways in which the residents and businesses and municipal staff and council member are pulling together to look after each other-that’s the kind of community we are fortunate enough to live in, and that’s what gives me hope,” he commented.