Free playgrounds are closed, but so are rec facilities and the casino in Langley City, causing a financial issue for city halls. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Langley Advance Times)

Free playgrounds are closed, but so are rec facilities and the casino in Langley City, causing a financial issue for city halls. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Langley Advance Times)

Langley mayors worried about financial impact of COVID-19

It’s unknown how many households will be able to pay their property taxes

Langley’s civic leaders are waiting to hear how big an impact the coronavirus will have on the balance sheets of the City and Township.

“We don’t have the casino proceeds, we don’t have the traditional revenues,” said City Mayor Val van den Broek.

In the short term, local governments are facing a loss of revenue from their shut-down recreational properties. There are no rentals for sports facilities, no people paying to swim or skate or play on sports fields, but all those facilities still have fixed costs to keep them maintained.

“Like any other business, our costs are going up with reduced revenues,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese.

But they are also worried about what will happen when it comes time to pay property taxes.

Taxes are due the first business day after Canada Day. But this year, more than a million Canadians have already lost their jobs.

Canadian mayors are warning that they will likely take a major hit as some households may not be able to pay on time, or at all.

“We don’t have any information on who will or will not pay their taxes,” said Froese.

The Township already revised its budget at the last minute to reduce this year’s tax increase by half, to two per cent.

Council also voted to slash the deadline for late payment of taxes from five per cent down to 1.75 per cent.

In Langley City, staff are expected to present a report on the financial fallout at the meeting on Monday, April 27. The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. via Zoom, noted van den Broek.

By provincial law, municipal governments can’t rack up operating deficits.

When a property owner can’t pay their tax, they have three years to make the payments. After that, land can be seized for tax sales. It can be auctioned off for cash at an annual event, although in recent years such sales have become very rare in Langley.

In the Township, policies have changed in recent years and there has been a focus on helping people meet their obligations and to keep their land.

But in the past, tax sales were more common. There are several well-known parks in Langley that were acquired as tax sales, including Brown Park on 240th Street, and portions of the forested lands near the Blaauw Eco-forest in Glen Valley.

A number of those lands were acquired in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when landowners couldn’t afford to pay their taxes.

CoronavirusLangley CityLangley Township

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brian Lott, of the Rotary Club of Langley Central, emceed the prize draw on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Langley woman wins $73,615 in first ever Langley Rotary Mega Draw

After months of ticket sales, the draw was livestreamed from the Rotary Interpretive Centre Thursday

Kanata Soranaka became a Belmont bulldog this school year, and has used technology and innovation to continue to bring music to students despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Langley teacher finds new ways to keep the music playing during COVID

Kanata Soranaka and her music cart a common sight around Belmont Elementary

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Langley RCMP are trying to identify this man, who allegedly struck a woman over a dispute about an off-leash dog in a Langley City park in October. (Langley RCMP/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Off-leash dog leads to attack in Langley City park

A man allegedly attacked a woman after an argument, RCMP say

Members queue up at the Langley Costco in May of 2020. Four staff at the store tested positive for the coronavirus over two weeks in November, said an employee who did not want to be named for fear of losing their job (Langley Advance Times file)
Four COVID cases in two weeks at Langley Costco

Staffer blames spike on relaxed enforcement of COVID-19 measures, says ‘it’s a zoo’

Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Most Read