The old saying goes that only two things in life are certain, and only one of them hits you every year.
Drumheller Town Council discussed late fees for property taxes at their January 9 meeting, specifically those payments that are technically late despite the fact they were made in good faith.
"If you wait until the very last minute of the very last day and go to the bank and there's a three or four day processing, the money has not been received so it is technically a violation of the bylaw," explained Mayor Terry Yemen. "When someone does that there was an effort to pay, but when you're talking about somebody that's 30, 40 or 50 days in arrears, the penalty can't be the same."
Right now, the town charges a five per cent penalty on all property taxes deemed to be late, whether they are received one day or six weeks after the August 31 deadline.
"Administration is going to see what other municipalities are doing, it's going to be brought back to council for a bylaw review and at that time I would suggest that council is going to make recommendations where, if the cheque is in the mail and we know that because it was paid for at the bank, there probably would still be a penalty but it would be a lot less," outlined the mayor.
"Death and taxes, it's inevitable, it's going to happen, but I guess it's the timing of it," allowed Yemen. "The town is going to reach out with a communication strategy to let everyone know the expectation is that the taxes have to be paid on this date."
Any taxes unpaid as of November 1 are subject to another five per cent penalty, plus annual interest of nine per cent. On the other hand, property owners can sign up to pay via monthly withdrawal. There is no service charge for that.