Last night, Kitchener City Council approved the City’s Early Economic Support Plan, which includes financial and economic support measures to help reduce the financial strain on citizens and businesses during the current pandemic.
The City of Kitchener’s Early Economic Support Plan, complements recently announced Federal and Provincial financial aid programs and is part of a coordinated economic response to the pandemic with Waterloo Economic Development Corporation (WaterlooEDC), Communitech, the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, area-municipalities and the Region of Waterloo.
It includes immediate supports over the next two months as well as longer-term work with various partners to develop a comprehensive plan focused on supporting the community in its recovery.
“While the physical safety and well-being of our residents and staff is always the City’s utmost priority, we also know that, during this time of uncertainty, financial and economic security is a growing source of concern for our residents and businesses,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. "It’s still early days, but financial impacts are already being felt throughout our community, and across all economic sectors. We hear that and we see that. And, while the financial tools we can provide as a municipality are somewhat limited, we’ve now put a plan in place to do our part in helping ease the burden for our community.”
Some measures in the Early Economic Support Plan begin immediately while others will be introduced over the next two months. Actions in the plan include:
Immediate financial flexibility for residents and businesses, including:
• Waiving penalties and interest charges for property tax and utility payments until May 31. Utility collection notices and disconnections will also be suspended during this period.
• Permitting the City to investigate giving tenants of city-owned commercial spaces, such as the Kitchener Market, a reduction in lease and license payments.
• Allowing businesses who have not yet renewed their annual business license to defer payment of their licensing fees to a later date.
• Allowing monthly parking customers at City of Kitchener parking lots to receive a full rebate of permit fees paid between March 16, 2020, and April 6, 2020, and to retain their parking permit without penalty until operations resume.
Continued support for the local construction industry
• Continuing to review development plans using digital and virtual software to ensure construction projects can continue.
• Following provincial direction, building inspectors will be continuing inspections of unoccupied buildings. Inspections of permits for occupied buildings, such as renovations and interior alterations, will be paused.
Additional support for local businesses and employees
• Directing City staff to work with regional partners to identify opportunities to further support local businesses and employees through webinars and training programs to assist Kitchener entrepreneurs applying for Federal and Provincial aid.
“Just as our community has come together to mitigate the spread of the virus so too will we unite during recovery. The City of Kitchener will continue to collaborate with government and business partners to ensure that area families and entrepreneurs can access all of the various supports on offer,” said Scott Davey, Chair of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee and mover of the motion. “These are extraordinary times, and we are in this together.”