Sherbrooke extends tax deadlines, removes fees

By Gordon Lambie

The city of Sherbrooke is loosening up the rules on property taxes, Hydro-Sherbrooke fees, and library fines to help ease the financial burden on residents while nonessential businesses are shut down in the province. The changes were announced at a special meeting of the City Council held on Tuesday.
Citing the now familiar line of “exceptional measures for exceptional times,” Mayor Steve Lussier explained that the May, July, and September payments will all be put off by three months to August, October and December.
Payment methods for the teaxes remain the same but owners are responsible for making changes to their electronic payments at their financial institution. Post-dated checks will be cashed according to the new deadlines, as will payments by agents and pre-authorized payments if the mode selected is four installments. In the case of pre-authorized payments in 12 installments, the direct debits will continue and the costs will be adjusted according to the new deadlines in February 2021. Those who wish to withdraw from pre-authorized payments in 12 installments must contact the city’s financial service before April 20 by writing to Homeowners can also keep the original payment schedule using electronic payment.
“If people can make the payment on the 4th of May it would be an excellent thing to do it,” Lussier said, noting that not everyone is in the same financial situation and that the city could still make good use of the money. The mayor pointed out that the move will cost the city $675,000 in short-term financing fees on top of the loss of tax and interest revenue.
With regard to the power utility, Hydro-Sherbrooke President and City Councillor Julien Lachance said that as of March 24, no late fees will be charged on unpaid bills and there will be no interruption of service for non-payment in residential or commercial clients. This measure does not apply, however, to cases where a judicial file has already been opened or for the city’s largest power consumers. The utility will also let a longer time lapse between payments if needed, although clients facing difficult financial situations are encouraged to contact Hydro-Sherbrooke’s customer service department directly.
See full story in the Wednesday, March 25 edition of The Record.

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