Rent relief? Key decisions made by Vaughan council April 21
City extends deadline to apply for the Elderly Home-Owners Tax Assistance program, reinstates yard waste pickup and rejects regional fire service
April 28, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves from a health to an economic crisis, decision-making isn’t stopping at the municipal level.
On April 21, Vaughan councillors and staff met digitally and cast their decisions on some key issues.
Here is a list of what will affect residents:
1- 'We’re different': Vaughan rejects regionalization of fire service
Five of Vaughan’s councillors, as well as Regional Councillor Linda Jackson, have rejected the study of potential regionalization of York Region fire service.
“We are different from the northern municipalities ... we need more specialized fire services,” said Ward 4 Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco during the digital council meeting, describing for example how Vaughan has more condos.
Racco sees no benefits to any amalgamation but understands why Richmond Hill “jumped on it, because they don't have enough money in their budget.”
She said that Richmond Hill sees benefit from merging, but it “won’t help us at all.”
With only Deputy Mayor Regional Councillor Mario Ferri and Regional Councillor Gino Rosati favouring the motion, the decision to reject the amalgamation is expected to be forwarded by the City Clerk to the Regional Municipality of York.
Before casting its final decision, the council weighed whether to consider supporting a study to determine the potential amalgamation of all eight York Region Fire Services within the nine York Region municipalities.
It has been considered and studied several times since 1996. Vaughan Council is being requested to determine whether the study of a regional fire service is warranted.
The other municipalities need to make their decision on the motion. The decision would require a triple majority to study it.
2- ‘Vaughan’s budget and business planning efforts soon approaching’
During his address, Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua said that the “city’s budget and business planning efforts are soon approaching.”
“As part of the regular yearly business planning and budget cycles, the City of Vaughan is launching its 2021 Business Planning, 2021 Budget and 2022 Financial Plan processes,” the City of Vaughan told yorkregion.com.
After explaining how the City’s “economic well-being is crucial,” he vowed that Vaughan’s “golden decade continues” and that City building is still a priority.
“During the first quarter of 2020, the City issued 656 permits valued at over $128 million,” Bevilacqua said. “More than 12,300 inspections have taken place over the past three months -- well exceeding 2019, 2018 and 2017 during that same period.”
3- City implements relief for its not-for-profit tenants
The City of Vaughan said it “recognizes the economic hardships placed on its not-for-profit tenants” as COVID-19 continues to hammer businesses.
“During a recent special Council meeting, Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Members of Council approved the deferral of rent for its not-for-profit tenants,” the City said. “This is a three-month rent deferral from April to June 2020.”
This is the latest in a series of measures introduced by the City to provide relief to the community. Other implemented measures include waiving the late penalty charge on interim tax bills, cancelling the planned 2020 water and wastewater rate increases and deferring of the annual stormwater charge.
4- Vaughan extends deadline for Elderly Home-Owners Tax Assistance
The City of Vaughan extended the deadline to apply for the Elderly Home-Owners Tax Assistance (PDF) program to May 15. The Elderly Home-Owners Tax Assistance program is a tax credit in the amount of $377 provided by the City to elderly homeowners who qualify. The City also continues to operate its Seniors, Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Disabled Persons Property Tax Deferral program (PDF). The deadline for this program remains Sept. 30.
As well, interim tax bill payments for the March 26, April 27 and May 27 due dates will not be subject to any late payment fee or interest until June 1. Further extensions may be granted thereafter. More information is available at https://www.vaughan.ca/services/property_tax_and_assessment/Pages/default.aspx.
5- ‘There is more solid waste’: Vaughan reinstates leaf and yard waste collection
Zoran Postic, who leads Vaughan's public works portfolio, said during the council meeting that citizens are “spending more time at home” and this is making them produce more “household waste.”
Postic said the City of Vaughan has picked up 30 per cent more solid waste in comparison to the same period last year.
This is why Vaughan is reinstating leaf and yard waste collection on April 21, he said in response to community needs.
The City on its website said, “Pick up began the week of April 21 and will be collected every second week on the same day as regularly scheduled garbage pickups.
“Depending on the service area, collection will begin the week of April 21 (yellow zone) or April 28 (blue zone).”
It added, “Due to volume, collection may be slower than usual -- residents are encouraged to leave leaf and yard waste out into the following day if it is not picked up. Visit vaughan.ca/waste for leaf and yard waste program details and requirements.”
In case of large or bulky items, such as furniture, the City asks they are to be held and not placed outside for pickup to help collectors manage the additional garbage volumes during this time.