Community Services Director Shannon Baillon brought a request from the Perth Business Improvement Association (BIA) to town council during Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The BIA requested council to continue to waive parking fees through the end of October 2021, as a way to support local businesses and bolster the shop-local initiative during Covid-19 restrictions.
Deputy Mayor McPherson noted that this is a loss in revenue for the town, and asked if the plan was “to take the loss of revenue out of reserves?”
Treasurer Brian Burns confirmed that “it will come out of reserves temporarily, until we get some more Covid-19 funding from the province.”
Mayor Fenik reminded council that this is a source of revenue for the town of Perth, and fees cannot be waived indefinitely. “I totally support what we’re doing here now … but at some point we’ll have to understand that Covid will be with us forever in some shape or form. Unless we raise taxes to offset these, we can’t continue [waiving fees]. I support it right now, but we can’t continue this for years and years.”
Council unanimously supported the request to extend the waiving of parking fees in Perth’s downtown until the end of October.
Treasurer Burns noted that the lost income from parking fees is approximately $12 000 per month.