Smiths Falls council waives penalty for late payments, offers free parking amid pandemic

Smiths Falls water tower
Posted on: March 24, 2020

Smiths Falls town council has voted to waive interest for late water bills and taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic at a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, March 23. 

Mayor Shawn Pankow says he is willing to work with Smiths Falls residents “through what will be a difficult time.”

Another way council is providing relief is by suspending payment for metered parking and switching to free two-hour parking downtown, including the town’s municipal lot on Market Street. 

Council is also suspending the community grants program in order to earmark $10,000 for the Smiths Falls Community Food Bank once current supplies have diminished. 

“Five hundred thousand Canadians applied for EI last week,” Mayor Pankow said. “Walmart is collecting donations at the cash for the food bank.”

Councillor Wendy Alford said she spoke with food bank manager Natalia Soteroff by phone, who said supplies are currently fine. 

“I do think it’s going to be needed,” Alford added. “It’s another way to support those who are struggling.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Smiths Falls council will begin holding meetings remotely, although exactly how that will work has not been determined.

“YourTV has offered to keep live-streaming the meetings,” Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris said. “It will allow the public to participate in some fashion.”

Article by Emilie Must