Champlain Township is delaying a few of its capital projects due to the COVID-19 situation to avoid cash flow issues.

Township treasurer Kevin Tessier said there were no problems at the moment, but he made the recommendation to delay a few projects until next year with the expectation that some taxpayers may have difficulty paying their property tax bills due to loss of employment or other hardships related to COVID-19.

Earlier in the meeting, Champlain Township approved deferral of water and sewage bills for March to May until July 10, 2020, and Tessier elaborated that there would be no interest or penalties charged on these bills. The township had already given an extension for the water and sewage bills for the previous billing period (May 29).

In addition, the township is waiving the tax penalty (1.25%) for final tax bills (due on September 30, 2020 and will waive the fees for NSF cheques until September 2020.

However, interest will still be added to any outstanding taxes prior to the September 2020 final tax bill. The net impact of waiving penalties and NSF fees is about $18,000, according to the treasurer’s report.

Deferred projects

The Stephen and St-Denis Street improvements, estimated at $1.35 million, would have been financed with a loan. This project will be deferred until next year, as will the financing. The project includes relining of the storm and sanitary sewer and surface rehabilitation.

The treasurer’s report indicated that some of the work might need to be done on a 20-meter section of storm sewer, which is in poor condition.

Further, $60,000 which had been earmarked for a new play structure in Miner Park will be placed in a Parks and Recreation reserve fund, to be used for the project in 2021. The cost of this project was part of the tax rate calculations which determined the 2020 property taxes in Champlain Township.

An $18,000 project to plan trees at the L’Orignal Park and at Desjardins Park will be deferred until 2021. The tree-planting will take place next year and in the meantime, the funds will be placed in the Parks and Recreation Reserve Fund.