Sechelt council has voted to defer this year’s tax sale, where properties with three years of unpaid property taxes can be auctioned by the district to recover the money owed.
In years when it’s necessary, the tax sale is usually held on the last Monday in September.
In a report to council, manager of financial services Ben Currie said as part of its response to the economic impacts of the pandemic, the province is allowing municipalities to put off holding a tax sale.
Currie said the district has not had to hold a tax sale since 2012 as it’s been successful in encouraging property owners to pay off at least one of the three owed years. As of June 15, the total number of properties with delinquent taxes was at a three-year low.
The report recommended against deferring the tax sale, noting that larger balances based on a four-year cycle could be more difficult to collect in 2021 and would actually increase the probability of properties going to tax sale.
“We’d be faced with collecting four years of taxes next year if we delayed the sale by a year,” Currie told council. “We do not recommend council considers the deferral of the tax sale and we’d like to continue our efforts to collect the delinquent taxes with the hope of not having the sale for another year.”
Most councillors, however, said they would prefer to put the sale on hold, recognizing that this could be a difficult year financially for some property owners.