Frequently Asked Questions

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Paying for Utilities

  • When are my property taxes and utilities due?

    In 2017, property taxes and utilities are both due on July 4. In future years, they will be due the first business day following Canada Day.

  • Why has a penalty been introduced for utilities?

    In 2016, 48% of the District's Utility revenue was outstanding as of July 4, compared to 27% in 2014. This represents a 21% shift in payments to later in the year, significantly impacting cash flow. 

    By not collecting fees until the end of the year the District has to fund operations by short-term borrowing or by forgoing interest on cash balances the municipality holds. This costs all rate payers money including those that paid on time. This ultimately costs everyone through higher utility fees. The introduction of a late payment penalty in July ensures that any costs associated with interim financing are now offset by revenue from penalties collected from only those rate payers that did not pay on time. 

  • How is this different from previous years?

    Property taxes have always been due at the beginning of July (the first business day following Canada Day). A 5% penalty was applied on the day following the deadline, followed by an additional 5% penalty one month later. This remains unchanged.

    Utilities were “due upon receipt” of the invoice. However, interest was not charged until January 1, so close to 50% of residents paid their utilities in late December. The penalty for late payment was interest charged, when the outstanding utilities amount 'rolled over' to property taxes.

    Prior to 2015, an incentive discount for early payment of utilities was offered which enabled the District to collect over 70% of payments by July. The early discount, (essentially a penalty for those paying later), was effective but added a duplicate process and so was administratively inefficient.

  • What does the Utility bill include?

    Utility charges at the District of Squamish include sewer, water and solid waste collection (garbage, organics and recycling curbside pickup). If you are in a strata complex that provides solid waste collection, this fee is part of your strata fee, and is not included on your utilities.

    2017 Utility fees:

    Water: $416 (residential unit)

    Sewer: $558 (residential unit)

    Solid Waste (curbside collection): $190 (small garbage tote size), $263 (medium), $405 (large).

     View the full 2017 rates.

  • Can I still pre-pay my utilities monthly?

    Yes. You can pre-pay your utilities and your property taxes monthly via post-dated cheques, telephone or Internet banking, or in person at Municipal Hall, but the balance must be paid in full by July 4, 2017 to avoid incurring the late payment penalty.

    After July 4, you can pre-pay your 2018 utilities and property taxes over 12 months (estimating the payments based on the prior year's fees). The deadline for full payment will be the first business day following Canada Day.

  • What happens to the monthly payments that I have already made toward my utilities for 2017?

    The credit balance will be transferred towards your utilities and your balance owing will be reduced by that amount. This will be reflected in the notice you receive in May.

  • Can my mortgage company/bank pay my property taxes and utilities?

    Your mortgage company/bank will continue to receive and pay your property taxes. Your mortgage company/bank WILL NOT receive the Utility fee portion of the invoice, and DOES NOT pay your utilities. In order to avoid incurring a penalty, discuss with your bank to ensure that you pay the utilities portion yourself.

  • Last year I paid my utilities in December, can I not do this anymore?

    No. Utilities are due July 4, 2017. New in 2017, a late payment penalty will now be applied on outstanding balances - 5% on July 5, 2017 and an additional 5% on August 1, 2017.

    Not collecting payments while providing a full year of service is not considered sound fiscal management and ultimately costs all residents through higher utility fees. A penalty discourages rate payers from deferring payments, and ensures that rate payers who meet the July 4 deadline will not bear the higher costs created by those that defer to year-end. The late payment penalties will offset any interim borrowing costs incurred to fund operations for the second half of the year. 

  • Will the Utilities and property tax amounts be separated on the same bill?

    Yes, you will continue to receive one bill with two separate amounts, clearly identified. 

     

  • What happened to the discount that was offered for early payment of utilities?

    Prior to 2015, an incentive discount for early payment of utilities was offered which enabled the District to collect over 70% of payments by July. The early discount, (essentially a penalty for those paying later), was effective but added a duplicate process and so was administratively inefficient.

  • What administration efficiencies will be achieved adding a penalty to Utilities payments?

    In 2015, the annual utilities were combined with the Property Tax Notice, which achieved significant efficiency in administration. Applying a penalty to move payments to the combined July 4 due date helps streamline the process further by eliminating duplication of two collection processes. The two processes were also confusing to residents, which contributed to duplication and inefficiencies through the processing of payments. 

  • How does a combined due date increase convenience for residents?

    Combining the due date enables residents and businesses to align their annual budgeting to target one tax payment date. The ambiguous nature of the utilities payment due date created confusion. Utility payments were "due upon receipt" , but no interest was charged until January 1. A clearly defined due date and penalty eliminates any confusion this ambiguity may have caused.

    Setting up a consistent bi-weekly or monthly savings plan (or monthly pre-payments to the District) can help offset the impact of a large one-time payment.