Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was originally published on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, at 2:34 p.m. Please see bottom of article for most recently updated information.
On Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, Kingston City Council will vote on the 2024 interim tax levy before final rates are approved later this spring. According to a report prepared by Desirée Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer and City Treasurer, councillors are being asked to approve a draft bylaw to establish the 2024 interim tax levy, representing 50 per cent of the 2023 taxes levied.
Established under the Municipal Act, 2001, the interim tax levies allow municipalities to continue collecting tax bills from property owners before official tax rates are set for the present year. The staff report says the 2024 interim levy will “provide funds to assist in financing daily operations and reduce reliance on short-term borrowings” before the City issues the final tax bill later this spring.
As for how much property owners will be expected to pay under the interim tax levy, the report explains, “For properties where assessment was added to the collector’s roll during 2023 as supplementary tax levies, the 2024 interim taxes will be based on 50 per cent of an annualized 2023 amount.” Meanwhile, if a new assessment is required for 2024, “the interim tax levy will be applied to the new assessment.”
Kennedy’s report adds that for properties requiring a new assessment, “an interim billing adjustment will be applied to ensure the levies do not exceed the maximum amounts allowable under the [Municipal] Act.”
Under the draft bylaw, the majority of properties in the City will be charged tax rates for municipal services, as well as fire and education. For all non-condominium residential properties, tax rates will also be levied for garbage collection. While the services charged under the interim levy vary by property type, tax rates also differ across central, west, and east Kingston.
During Tuesday’s Council meeting, members will have an opportunity to question Kennedy and other staff on the specifics of the 2024 interim tax levy. The report notes the draft bylaw must be put forward for all three readings on Tuesday night “in order to allow interim tax bills to be mailed by February 8, 2024.”
If approved, the 2024 interim levy is expected to generate $163.5 million in revenue for the City, an increase of $6.5 million over revenue generated under the 2023 interim tax levy. As noted in the report, interim tax bills will be issued by February 8, 2024, with payment due to the City 21 days later on February 29, 2024, or the last business day of the month.
A number of different payment options will be made available to property owners, including in person at City Hall (216 Ontario Street), at any financial institution in the city, by mail, or online via Visa or MasterCard. A complete list of options can be found on the City’s website.
The draft bylaw also contains provisions for late charges at a rate of 1.25 per cent per month.
“Penalty charges are imposed for the nonpayment of taxes on the first day of default, and interest will be charged on unpaid taxes on the first day of each month thereafter,” the report adds.
The 2024 interim tax levy is the first of two tax bills property owners will receive from the municipality this year, with the final bill, representing the balance of the year’s municipal taxes, due on the last business day in June. Council will debate the final tax levy and rates at a meeting later this spring.
Tuesday’s City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Council Chambers of Kingston City Hall. Full meeting agendas are available on the City of Kingston website. Meetings are open to the public and can be streamed live (or viewed after) on the Kingston City Council YouTube page.
Update (Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, at 1:55 p.m.):
During the Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, meeting of Kingston City Council, members voted unanimously to approve the 2024 Interim Tax Levy, which represents 50 per cent of the taxes levied in 2023. Now that the interim levy has been approved, interim tax bills will be issued by Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, with payment due to the City 21 days later on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, or the last business day of the month.
The final tax levy for 2024 will be voted on later this spring, after members approve this year’s municipal operating budget. Budget deliberations are set to begin on Monday. Jan. 15, 2024 inside Council Chambers at Kingston City Hall.
Members of the public can view the full agenda from the meeting on the City of Kingston’s City Council meetings webpage, and the meeting can be viewed in full on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.