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Orangeville Council approves emergency relief initiatives

Mar 23, 2020 | Council | General

Orangeville Council has approved a relief package for residents, as well as property and business owners. After declaring an emergency in the Town of Orangeville on March 20, Council took action, in a special meeting today, to waive all fees and interest related to late payment of property taxes (on all tax classes) for a three-month period, in response to COVID-19. The next tax due date is April 27, for the second instalment of the interim tax levy. Tax payments will continue to be accepted and processed by the Town. View a full list of e-services and payment options here.

Council voted to waive fees on Orangeville Transit for 90 days, but will monitor the use given the scarcity of open destinations. Riders will be encouraged to board from the rear door to reduce the risk to transit operators and further support social distancing.

Penalties on overdue water fees will be waived by the Town for 90 days. Orangeville Hydro has suspended account collection activities including late payment interest on incremental balances and the provincial winter disconnect ban has been extended by an additional three months. Council agreed to ask the Minister of Energy for support of off-peak hydro hours around the clock during the pandemic.

A motion passed to transfer $100,000 from a contingency reserve to community grants, and provide $10,000 to the Orangeville Food Bank.

Council agreed to close the Orangeville Off-Leash Dog Park, given the concern that the COVID-19 virus may be transmitted from canine to canine.

Winter parking restrictions with respect to on-street parking have been lifted, effective immediately, rather than waiting until they expire on March 31. 

Further, Council approved the establishment of a line of credit for $10 million which will mitigate potential cash flow constraints during emergencies.

Orangeville Council voted to ask the County of Dufferin to consider doubling the waste collection bag limit, given the fact that people are working from home or staying at home during this period. Dufferin County Council is expected to meet next week.

Please know that further work is being done at all levels of government and the Town will continue to look for ways to do more to support businesses and residents who are economically challenged during these difficult times. Council has asked for an interactive question and answer page on the Town’s website. That task was completed following the meeting. Going forward, residents can ask questions of Council and staff by emailing [email protected]. Responses will be provided on the COVID-19 section of the website and read at Council meetings.

“Today, Orangeville Council passed measures to help alleviate some of the immediate financial pressure that Orangeville residents are experiencing in light of the COVID 19 crisis,” said Mayor Sandy Brown. However, the most important message to relay to residents is to repeat the health directives about restricting your trips outside the home to essential needs only and maintain social distancing. Residents can use online purchasing options and contactless pick-up of goods at stores where it’s offered. Council and staff are working with other levels of government, local Public Health, and the Headwaters Health Care Team to flatten the curve in our region. Please practice good personal hygiene with frequent hand and face washing, limit travel to essential visits and keep your social distance. For the forseeable future, Council will be dealing with high priority issues in its meetings. Although today’s meeting did not have an ability for the public to interact with Council – we are working through technologies that will allow this in the near future. With the province ordering the closure of all non-essential workplaces effective Tuesday night, we need to go home and stay home and keep everyone safe.”

Currently most of the Town’s services remain available online or over-the-phone and are outlined on the Town’s website on a special COVID-19 section, along with links to provincial and federal government and public health sites. The Town continues to assess the situation to determine if any additional changes will be necessary to operations, programs or service levels, recognizing the Town has previously suspended public programming and closed municipal facilities to public access.