Varcoe: Council throws out a lifeline, defers property taxes

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All of these factors mean the city must take more action and provide more relief in the weeks ahead, even as it struggles with the impact on its own bottom line.

City manager David Duckworth noted the city can’t run a deficit like other levels of government.

“The 90-day tax deferment or delayed payment could potentially have an impact of … $180 million on our cash flows, so we have to be very, very careful with what we bring forward,” he added.

For businesses, Monday’s step matches a deferral introduced by the province on the education portion of property taxes.

But more assistance will be required.

“This buys us the time. This takes a bunch of strain and pressure off the businesses and residents who don’t know how they are going to pay their bill, but it cannot be the full answer,” Nenshi said.

“At least it’s the beginning of something.”

Chris Varcoe is a Calgary Herald columnist.