March 20, 2020 - Utilities and Property Taxes Payment Update
The City of Prince George is providing additional information for residents about payments for utilities and property taxes in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Options for Payment
The City provides multiple options for payment of both utility bills and property taxes. These include payment online through financial institutions, using a credit card through the PayTM mobile app, mailing or dropping off cheques at City Hall, or signing up for a pre-authorized payment plan. While payment in-person at City Hall is presently available from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, the City encourages residents to utilize remote payment options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of practicing social distancing. Online payments are also accepted for monthly parking and dog licences.
In recent years, roughly half of utility and tax payments were paid in-person at City Hall.
The City of Prince George is continuing to follow existing deadlines for payments of utilities and property taxes. This means that property taxes will continue to be due on the first Friday of July (July 3 in 2020) and utility payments for the first half of 2020 are due April 3 for properties on a flat rate. Even though the deadline for filing 2019 income tax has been extended to June 1 by the Federal and Provincial Governments, municipalities in BC don’t have the authority to change tax collection dates or waive penalties/interest for late payment; these are governed by provincial legislation. In addition, nearly 30 per cent of the funds collected through property taxes are directly transferred to cover hospital and school taxes, the regional district, BC Assessment, and the Municipal Finance Authority.
The City utility bills provide all of the annual operating funds for the water, sanitary sewer, and solid waste services. Delaying collection of fees for these services would have a significant impact on the City’s cash flow.
Property Taxes are the City of Prince George's main revenue source with which to provide valuable services to residents. Tax bills are mailed out at the end of May and due on the first Friday in July unless July 1 falls on a Friday, in which case taxes will be due the following Friday.
Property tax collection also includes revenue the City collects on behalf of other agencies. For example, a portion of property tax collections are distributed to the Province for School Tax, BC Assessment, the Municipal Finance Authority, and the Regional District of Fraser Fort George.
Home owners may also apply for the Provincial Home Owner Grant that helps reduce the amount of residential property taxes they pay on their primary residence.
The City provides water, sewer, and solid waste collection services. These utilities charges are billed separately from property taxes. Flat rate bills are billed twice a year and are typically due at the end of March and at the end of September. Metered accounts are billed quarterly. These fees support operating costs as well as the replacement of aging infrastructure.