A number of penalties and fees will be waived until June 30, the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake announced Tuesday evening.
The decision comes one day after Lord Mayor Betty Disero declared of a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Tuesday, the town will waive penalty or interest charges related to 2020 property taxes, water charges and accounts receivable; the insufficient funds fee charged by the town for any returned items; penalty or interest charges on parking tickets from March 15 to June 30; and expired permit parking passes.
The town has also suspended fees for the use of metered parking spaces and penalties for opting out or taking a pause from the town’s pre-authorized payment program.
Disero said the town’s emergency declaration gives the town the ability to act more quickly if it has to make decisions, as well as reminding residents how “significant the impact could be on the community” if people don’t follow provincial and federal requirements to isolate.
“Because we have so many people returning or coming in to to Niagara-on-the-Lake over the next very short period of time, and we needed to get ourselves organized,” Disero said.
She said right now the town is focused on keeping a strong line of communication open with the public, getting ahead of preventive measures and explaining the “significance of what’s going on.”
Other major issues are how to deal with people who go to essential stores when they should be isolating and how to help ensure farmers are being contacted regarding having a system in place for arriving seasonal workers, on top of getting news systems in place for town staff to handle the constantly changing situation.