District of Squamish Utilities (water, sewer, and solid waste) are billed annually. Utilities and property taxes are combined into one invoice for residential property owners (single homes or strata units). Secondary suites will receive a separate Utilities invoice.
NEW: In 2017, both utilities and property taxes are subject to a late payment penalty if not paid on or before July 4, 2017. Read the news release.
A 5% late payment penalty will be applied to outstanding balances on property taxes and utilities on July 5, 2017. A second 5% penalty will be applied to any outstanding balances on August 1, 2017.
The billing changes will improve cash flow by moving the majority of payments to mid-year. 52% of residents paid their utilities by July 4, 2016. By not collecting 48% of utilities until the end of the year, the District must fund operations throughout the year through short-term borrowing or by forgoing interest on cash balances the municipality holds. This is not sound fiscal management and ultimately costs all residents through higher utility fees. Administrative efficiency is also achieved through introducing consistency in how unpaid balances are treated.
“As our billings process has transitioned, there has been a two-year period with no discount program nor late payment penalty for utility payments, creating the perception that the due date was December, and resulting in a significant impact to our cash flow. We appreciate that it’s challenging for residents to be able to pay off a large bill at one time; managing cash flow is something we all grapple with. By introducing the 5% + 5% late payment penalties, we are trying to be sensitive to those who simply missed the deadline, and those who could use a little more time.” -- District of Squamish Mayor, Patricia Heintzman
Paying your property tax and utilities by the July 4, 2017 deadline will ensure that you do not incur a penalty on any outstanding balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information, or contact us at 604.815.5010 or by email.
5 steps to paying it right
Confused by two bills on one invoice? Here are five steps to paying both bills on time:
- Look for your combined Property Tax Notice /Utility bill in your mailbox in May;
- Make note of your property tax amount owing;
- Make note of your Utility amount owing;
- Apply for your homeowner grant to offset your property taxes;
- Pay BOTH payments on or before July 4.
Utility Rates Bylaws
- Property taxes can be incorporated into a mortgage payment, but financial institutions DO NOT pay Utility fees, only property taxes. Taxpayers must pay their own Utility fees to avoid getting caught with paying a penalty.
- To avoid a large one-time payment, monthly instalment payments can be made to the District of Squamish Property Tax and Utility Accounts, up to July 4, 2017 for the current year's taxes to avoid penalty. Monthly payments can continue to be applied after July 4 for the following year's taxes and Utilities (2018).
- Alternatively, the taxpayer may choose to set up his/her own monthly savings plan through a separate savings account and then transfer a lump sum to the District by the July deadline (the first business day following Canada Day).
- Pay using telephone or Internet banking services provided by banks and credit unions (does not include over-the-counter payments at the bank or automated teller machines - please check with your banking service). If paying by this process, ensure there is enough time for the bank to post the payment to the District of Squamish before the deadline.
- In-person at Municipal Hall, 37955 Second Avenue, Squamish.
- Mail or deliver a cheque to Municipal Hall early enough to be received before the deadline (post-dated cheque dated is acceptable).
- Deposit payment in the after hours drop box at Municipal Hall on or before the deadline.
Provincial tax deferment program
For those on a limited fixed income or who find themselves unable to pay, deferment loans for property taxes may be available through the Province of British Columbia. Two different programs are available, including one for those 55 or older, a surviving spouse of any age, or a person with disabilities, and a second program for families with children. For details on the program and how to apply visit the BC Government website, or contact Municipal Hall.
Quick Utilities Facts
- 2017 Utility fees:
- Water: $416 (residential unit)
- Sewer: $558 (residential unit)
- Solid Waste (curbside collection): $190 (small garbage tote size), $263 (medium), $405 (large).
- The Water Utility fee has increased four per cent in 2017 to continue to fund the replacement and upgrading of aging infrastructure that is critical to maintaining adequate levels of service and increasing fire flows in some areas. The increase also aims to stabilize rates in order to be ready for future capital project impacts.
- The Sewer Utility fee has increased two per cent in 2017 to maintain minimal cost increases while adequately funding future infrastructure replacement and upgrades to accommodate community growth and improve environmental protection.
- The Solid Waste Utility fee has increased for “medium” and “large” garbage tote sizes to reflect the investment required to expand the near-full landfill. The fee for “small” garbage tote sizes has not changed.
- District of Squamish Council is currently deliberating the 2017 budget. Once the budget is finalized, the tax requisition defined, and the mill rates set, Property Tax Notices will be mailed in May. Increased home assessments do not equate to the same percentage increase in property taxes. The District of Squamish continues to work towards a responsible 2017 budget and five year financial plan to effectively and responsibly manage the growing community.