Death and taxes are the only certainties in life, it is said, and that remains true even in a postal strike, at least for property taxes.
“That one is something that is really out of our control. The province has announced that they are not going to offer any exemptions or relaxed penalties for late payments,” said Tina Lee, communications officer for the City of Penticton.
With a possible postal strike looming on July 2, the city is encouraging residents who have yet to pay their property taxes to not use the mail. Property tax bills, Lee said, can be paid in person, dropped off in the external payment box at city hall, through online banking, or if all else fails, sent by courier.
But whatever the method, that tax bill has to be paid, said Lee.
“That is one we don’t have any flexibility on whatsoever,” said Lee.
If a resident has already mailed in their property taxes and a postal strike does happen, Lee said they can call city hall to ensure the payment was received.
The city also needs to be able to get their own mail out, and Lee said they have a contingency plan that involves using a local charitable organization to hand deliver city mail.
“The first major mailing that we would be concerned about is July 15 and that is the next utility cycle,” said Lee, explaining that the city is working with the YES (Youth Empowerment Strategy) youth group to handle delivering the utility bills.
That group has a goal of building a youth centre for the community.
Should a postal strike go on for any length of time, Lee said the city has a campaign to convert more customers to e-billing.
“We are at about 30 per cent e-billing right now, which is quite high compared to other cities,” she said.
Other important mailings include tickets from Bylaw Enforcement, and development services. In the case of developments, they often have a requirement to notify the public in the surrounding area. Lee said staff members will try to hand deliver those themselves.
The city has its own bills to pay, though Lee said she didn’t think that would be much of a problem.
“Really, we have a few vendors we have to pay. But most of the time, when people want money, they are going to come pick it up, so we don’t see that being an issue,” said Lee. “The major invoices we have, we will probably courier.”