City news, briefly

Some of the decisions made at Whitehorse city council’s Jan 27th meeting

Whitehorse council approves operating budget

Whitehorse city council confirmed property owners in the city will see their tax bill rise 2.2 per cent and water and sewer rates increase 1.71 per cent in 2020 with members passing the final readings on the bylaws governing the $81.9 million operating spending plan for 2020 on Jan. 27.

The vote came following a public input session where no one came forward or provided written submissions.

Prior to voting with the rest of council in favour of the budget and increases for taxes and fees, Coun. Samson Hartland commented the budget doesn’t speak a lot to the efficiencies the city works towards in an effort to keep costs down where possible. He asked city manager Linda Rapp to outline some of those.

Among others, Rapp pointed to a new corporate work order process; the new online parking ticket payment option; online submission options for the traffic and sign committee; a new internal staff newsletter; staff reorganization within the operations department and working with the Yukon government on a number of matters.

Hartland noted his hope that in future budgets the city will do more work to ensure the public is aware of the efficiencies being made by the city.

Whitehorse buys new compressor for the CGC

The Canada Games Centre will be getting a new compressor after Whitehorse city council approved the $65,000 expense at its Jan. 27 meeting.

One of three compressors used for the recreation centre’s ice refrigeration system failed in December.

If either of the remaining two that are functioning were to break it would “cause loss of artificial ice as well as loss of the waste heat supply to the facility,” council heard in an earlier report.

The new equipment is being paid for with gas tax funding.

City set to publish list of people who owe taxes

City of Whitehorse officials can move forward in its efforts to collect more than $163,000 owed in property taxes.

Whitehorse city council voted Jan. 27 to allow for the publication of the list of property owners who still owe taxes.

As of Jan. 22, the 2019 list included 63 properties that had amounts owing ranging from $367 to $7,565. The list will be updated to reflect any changes in that before it is published.

By comparison in 2018, there were 55 outstanding property tax bills totaling $176,370.

If property tax bills continue to go unpaid, letters will be sent to the property owners in February and March with a goal of collecting.

“Each property on this list will be levied an administration fee and will be subject to further collection procedures if the account is not paid within 60 days,” Brittany Dixon, the city’s manager of financial services, outlined in an earlier report to council. “Those steps include initial application for title to the property after 12 months and final application for title to mediation board after a further six months. If the taxes remain outstanding, the title to the property is transferred to the city and, assuming the city has no use for the property, it is disposed of at fair market value with any surplus returned to the previous owner.”

City will write off $30,000

The City of Whitehorse will write off close to $30,000 it’s owed.

On Jan. 27, Whitehorse city council approved third reading of the bylaw to write off the amounts that make up the list of uncollectible accounts for 2019.

The majority of the $27,817 owed comes from $22,350 in unpaid parking fines issued to vehicles through 2018 that had non-Yukon license plates.

As per an earlier staff report to council: “The City does not receive information as to the registered vehicle owners not licensed in the Yukon and therefore we have no recourse to collect these fines. Currently parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates have a 50% collection rate. In 2018 there was 1,783 parking tickets issued to no Yukon license plates and the City received full payment for 869 of these. The fines included in the bylaw were issued in 2018 and remain unpaid as of December 2019.”

Other uncollectible amounts include $136.78 worth of uncollectible finance charges that were under $15 each; amounts of $4,126 and $1,151 in two separate cases of repayment schedules being breached (both cases have been sent to collection agencies); and finally $52.50 for interest on a non-sufficient funds payment at the Canada Games Centre.

Whitehorse city council

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