Battle Ground City Council supports residents & businesses through tax decrease

The Battle Ground City Council recognizes that many residents and businesses of the city are experiencing financial hardships related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. In order to offer a small measure of relief, the council has taken action to reduce the city’s water, sewer and stormwater utility tax rate from the current 22% to 12%. 

The tax rate decrease is effective immediately.  City utility customers will see a decrease on their upcoming June statements. The tax reduction will save the average residential customer about $60 through the end of 2020. The immediate reduction will bridge the gap between now and January 2021 when the rate was already scheduled to decrease to 12%. 

“The response to COVID-19 has created adverse economic consequences in our community – especially for workers and small businesses,” said Mayor Adrian Cortes. “Council’s policy decision to reduce the utility tax is intended to help the community through this difficult time.”

Utility tax revenue goes to the city’s general fund to support core municipal services such as public safety, public works, community development, and parks and recreation. The city has proactively prepared for emergencies with cautious and conservative financial practices. The effect of the tax decrease to the general fund, approximately $540,000 through the end of 2020, will be absorbed by reserve savings. 

The city’s declaration of public health emergency remains in effect, providing additional utility payment relief to customers in need. During the public health emergency, the city is not disconnecting service for non-payment, nor assessing late fees. City customers who are able to pay their utility bill are asked to continue to do so. As a public, nonprofit utility, it helps the city maintain service continuity while allowing flexibility for those most impacted by the effects of COVID-19.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.